MANILA, Philippines – Tollway operators have made preparations for the expected infux of motorists on expressways this Undas.
Preparations to ease traffic will be done along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), and Manila-Cavite expressway (Cavitex).
The Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) relaunched its "Safe Trip Mo, Sagot Ko" motorist assistance program on Thursday, October 24, an initiative that will address motorists' concerns.
MPTC has been running the program during major holidays for a decade, but for Undas 2019, the focus will be on motorists' convenience at the toll lane.
"We'd like to focus on convenience at the toll lane. The toll lane is always the place where the congestion happens inevitably," said MPTC Senior Vice President for Communications Romulo Quimbo Jr.
With expressway on the expressway expected to surge by 15% to 20% NLEX Corporation Chief Executive Officer Raul Ignacio said, "We made all the necessary preparations to handle the surges in traffic."
The MPTC will be in close coordination with local government units, the Philippine National Police, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the Toll Regulatory Board in implementing the program.
Exclusive RFID lanes were added to the NLEX – 7 at the Bocaue barrier and 4 at the Balintawak barrier – bringing the total number of electronic toll collection lanes to 40. The exclusive RFID lanes will cater to all vehicle classes.
Drive-through reloading lanes have also been opened for Class 1 vehicles, specifically at lane NO4 in Balintawak and lane X06 in Bocaue, from 5 am 9 pm.
Ignacio said that it the reloading lanes are successful, the scheme may be expanded to other expressways.
Toll collection points
The Balintawak toll plaza will open 24 toll collection points on these dates: October 26 to 28 and 30 to 31, and November 1 to 2.
The Mindanao Avenue, Tarlac, and Tipo toll plazas will open 10, 15, and 6 collection points respectively.
The Bocaue toll barrier will have up to 55 collection points for Manila-bound motorists from November 1 to 4. Tarlac toll plaza tellers will have pre-encoded transit tickets ready for motorists to speed up transactions.
From October 25 to November 4, NLEX-SCTEX traffic operations personnel will monitor and manage vehicular traffic at the Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Bocaue, Santa Ines, Tarlac, and Tipo toll plazas.
From November 1 to 4, Cavitex will have more patrol teams for traffic management and motorist assistance.
Additional message signs will also be installed by November at NLEX Bocaue southbound, and Pulilan northbound and southbound. The MPTC will also set up enhanced directional and road safety signs.
Construction along the NLEX, SCTEX, and Cavitex will be suspended beginnin 9 am on October 24 to November 4, with the exception of necessary safety repairs.
This means that all NLEX, SCTEX, and Cavitex lanes will remain open.
NLEX and SCTEX information and help desks will be set up, open from 6 am to 6 pm. They will provide free calls and Wi-Fi for Smart users, first aid assistance, as well as 24/7 auto mechanic services.
SMSK Motorist Camps will also be set up along SCTEX and Cavitex to provide free calls, Wi-Fi, drinking water, basic mechanic services, and first aid.
From 6 am of October 30 to 6 am of November 4, 24-hour free towing services will also be provided for Class 1 vehicles to the nearest exit.
From October 30 to November 4, real-time traffic updates will be posted on the Facebook accounts of NLEX Corporation and Cavitex.
Live traffic management will also be implemented through a drone system and broadcasted on the expressways' social media sites, to aid motorists in scheduling their trips.
Motorists may also call the following hotlines:
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.