Luzon highway operators eye toll hike

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2012 05:33 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2012 04:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Toll fees in various highways in Luzon may rise next year, if the Toll Regulatory Board gives the green light to toll increases sought by NLEX, SLEX, SCTex, CAVITEX and Star Tollway.

NLEX wants an average 11% hike, SLEX seeks an undetermined  increase, CAVITEX wants a 20% increase and Star Tollway seeks a hike of between 7 to 8%.

TRB executive director Edmond Reyes says the board continues to study these petitions and will come up with a decision soon.

The reckoning period of all these petitions is January 1, 2013 but if hearings are not yet through by that time, it is possible that adjustments will happen after the new year.

Reyes added that just because the contract guarantees an annual hike in toll fees, it doesn't mean that the TRB cannot scrutinize and hold public hearings for the toll rate increases.

For its part, the Manila North Tollways Corporation, operator of NLEX says their petition for a 11% increase is reasonable and fair since the expressway has also improved over the years. Services to travellers are also constant according to the company like this year's program for those who will go back to the provinces for All Saints' Day break.

NLEX will deploy more personnel to monitor traffic expected to rise by 10 to 15% in Balintawak, Mindanao and Dau toll plazas in afternoon of Oct 31 to early morning of Nov 1. It will also deploy additional ambulant tellers in Bocaue toll plaza on Nov 3 and 4 for those who are coming back from the long weekend.

NLEX has also launched Lakbay Norte pass, a prepaid toll card for class 1 vehicle going to Dau, Tarlac and Subic and those travelling back to Manila. These cards can be used from Oct 31 to Nov 4, 2012.

Motorists will no longer need cash to pay the teller so this will speed up transactions in the booth. One-way toll value cards are as follows - P218 for vehicles travelling NLEX Balintawak/Mindanao Ave to Dau or vice versa; P322 for up to Tarlac or vice versa and P408 for up to Subic.

The company has also started its NLigtas travel time advisory where motorists can check actual traffic condition along d expressway through their smart phones or computers.

Motorists can visit www.tollways.net.ph or visit the NLEX facebook page or call the hotline (02 ) 35000. Aside from these, NLEX is also partnering with other entities in providing free first aid treatment and basic mechanic services to motorists along NLEX and SCTEX from October 31 to November 4.

The "Safe trip mo, Sagot ko" assistance center will be placed in 9 fuel stations, 1 station in SLEX, and 2 camp sites in SCTEX.