Bulacan mayors want cash lanes back on NLEX as RFID mess gets fixed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2020 03:40 PM

Bulacan mayors want cash lanes back on NLEX as RFID mess gets fixed 1
Vehicles pass through the Balintawak tollway along the North Luzon Expressway in Caloocan City on October 22, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Bulacan mayors on Thursday backed Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian’s decision to suspend North Luzon Expressway’s (NLEX) business permit and proposed the temporary return of cash lanes on toll plazas while toll operators sort out issues with the RFID system for cashless toll collection. 

In a statement, the League of Municipalities of Bulacan aired their frustration over the RFID system rollout, which they said cause heavy traffic even in their areas. 

The said system was intended to implement a cashless toll collection in the tollway, as its operators complied with government measures to curb the coronavirus spread and to promote ease of passage.

“Kaming mga halal na Punong Bayan ng iba't ibang munisipalidad sa lalawigan ng Bulacan ay… hinihiling na maglagay muna ng ‘cash lane’ upang maiwasan ang pagsisikip ng daloy ng trapiko sa mga toll plazas na labis na nakaapekto sa mga motorist at biyahero,” the statement from the mayors read. 

(We, the elected mayors from Bulacan’s different municipalities, propose the temporary return of cash lanes to prevent heavy traffic in toll plazas which has already affected motorists and passengers alike.)

Bulacan is among provinces where the NLEX cuts through.

NLEX operator Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) earlier attributed the build up in toll plazas to "technical problems" in their system, but guaranteed that the issues are already being addressed.

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But the local chief executives in the province proposed the temporary installation of cash lanes, saying it would help ease traffic flow while the cashless system gets fixed. 

“Marapat lamang na maibsan ang suliraning ito sa pamamagitan ng pagbabalik ng mga cash lanes hangga't hindi naisasagawa [nang] maayos ang [dapat sana'y] matuling transaksyon [sa] bagong sistemang ipinatutupad sa kahabaan ng NLEX sa Bulacan,” the mayors explained.

(The return of cash lanes will relieve this problem until the new cashless system proves to be efficient along NLEX.) 

The heavy traffic, they pointed out, also disrupts residents' livelihood and delays transport of goods. 

Gatchalian on Monday served the city government's order suspending the business permit of MPTC for failure to comply with the city's demands to improve its service.

He earlier alleged that NLEX did not fix issues linked to the RFID system installation, and described it as a form of “highway robbery.” 

His brother Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, earlier announced he has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate toll operators' concession deals. 

Senate Resolution No. 587, filed on Monday, seeks to check if toll operators have been complying with the "minimum performance standards" stipulated in their concession agreements. 

— With a report from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News

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