MANILA (UPDATE) - Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said Tuesday that the response from NLEX Corp. were full of "motherhood statements" and "meant to delay" actions to resolve traffic issues stemming from its faulty RFID systems in Valenzuela.
Gatchalian told ANC's Market Edge that the letter response of NLEX Corp and its parent firm Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) "does not suffice" and only contains what they intend to do, rather than listing actionable plans.
He noted that the toll operators are intending "to set up a meeting tomorrow or today" to come up with action plans and set expectations on the traffic issues but not lifting the suspension.
Gatchalian called out NLEX Corp. on their statement that they are "protecting customers," saying the toll operators have been "negligent" in attending to the issue in 7 years.
"[NLEX Corp.] President J. Luigi Bautista was saying to protect the riding public, customers. Mr. MNTC President, I'm sorry but you had a chance to fix this, you didn't. It's Valenzuela that did the protecting of the riding public...You're making LGU sound like hostile party here, when in reality, you were the ones who triggered this," Gatchalian said.
The Valenzuela mayor compared NLEX's faulty RFID system to SLEX's 98 percent RFID readability, stressing that they should follow the south tollway's example.
Persisting traffic attributed to NLEX's faulty RFID technology defeats the whole purpose of going cashless, Gatchalian said.
NLEX Corp for its part said even prior to the implementation of the 100 percent cashless transactions, it has already upgraded its RFID system.
"Advanced reading of RFID tags was implemented by relocating RFID sensors 10 meters from their original positions and adjusted the system software for faster transaction times. Since Dec 1, overall RFID transactions totaled 291,642 with 98 percent read rate," it said.
In its letter to Gatchalian dated Dec. 7, NLEX Corp. and MPTC listed their proposed action plans to resolve the issues hounding its Valenzuela toll gates.
They said they will cooperate with the Valenzuela City government to come up with initiatives to resolve the tollway traffic in the area.
"We are reviewing the situation and are doing everything necessary to address the issues," NLEX Corp. President J. Luigi Bautista said in a statement.
Gatchalian suspended NLEX Corp's business permit on Monday due to the heavy traffic buildup since the implementation of the cashless RFID toll collection on Dec. 1.
The suspension only covers NLEX Corp's toll operations in Valenzuela, enabling motorists to pass through the toll gates without paying while the government order lasts.
"As for the fixes, that is yet to be seen. Up to this day, I don't think there's any fixes in the faulty sensors, non-connection of the stickers in the sensors, and the missing load. So unfortunately, we're still a bit far off from lifting this," Gatchalian said.