NLEX Corp. will transfer immediately the RFID sticker installation and account reloading stations located on North Luzon Expressway’s Karuhatan and Mindanao Avenue toll plazas to improve traffic flow in the area
NLEX Corp. on December 10 responded to the Valenzuela City government’s demand for “clear and concrete solutions” to issues in the implementation of the mandatory cashless toll collection
The toll operator said it has heeded the order of the city government to reimburse motorists “accidentally” charged during the toll holiday, which started on December 7
Toll operator NLEX Corp. said it will transfer “effective immediately” the radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker installation and account reloading stations located at the Karuhatan and Mindanao Avenue toll plazas on North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to improve traffic flow in the area.
This is the toll operator’s solution to appease the Valenzuela City government, which has suspended the toll company’s business permit and laid down the conditions for lifting the suspension.
The city government suspended the toll concessionaire’s permit after it failed to submit an action plan addressing the heavy traffic at NLEX interchanges generated by the mandatory cashless transaction implemented at the start of the month.
NLEX Corp. said it received the city government’s letter dated December 9 on the conditions for lifting the suspension, adding it would reply on December 10 with “clear and concrete solutions” to the issues raised.
Valenzuela City mayor Rex Gatchalian on December 10 confirmed that NLEX Corp. had responded to the city’s letter.
“NLEX management is one with the Valenzuela City government and other Metro Manila LGUs [local government units] and the MMDA [Metropolitan Manila Development Authority] in taking concrete steps to alleviate the daily heavy traffic congestion in the metropolis, especially as we approach the Christmas season,” NLEX Corp. said in a statement.
It added that the inconveniences and delays were caused by the start of the full implementation of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Department Order 2020-12 requiring cashless and contactless transactions on December 1 having combined with “the surge of Manila-bound commuters from the long holiday, the seasonal build-up, the lifting of the truck ban and number coding scheme.”
It assured its customers that “we will continue working hard to improve their daily expressway journey.”
The Valenzuela City government said it had identified problems with the implementation of cashless toll collection, including RFID stickers that easily or immediately wear out; sensors that can’t read RFID stickers promptly; missing and/or untimely crediting of loads; erroneous and/or delayed and/or bulk charging of toll fees; and display systems installed at toll gate not showing the real time load.
Among the requirements of the Valenzuela City government in its December 9 demand letter to NLEX Corp. were the following:
- Establish measureable performance indexes of success, such as high readability rate of NLEX Corp. sensors at toll plazas
- Furnish the Valenzuela City government copies of monthly performance reports
- Furnish the Valenzuela City Business Permit and Licensing Office copies of computer-generated reports of all collections made via the RFID system, or cash, if any, since the toll holiday was implemented last December 7
- Within 24 hours from receipt of the December 9 letter, reimburse all those who were “accidentally charged with toll fee during implementation of toll holiday in Valenzuela City”
Gatchalian on December 10 confirmed that NLEX Corp. has heeded the instruction to reimburse motorists that were “accidentally” charged during the toll holiday, which started when the toll operator’s business permit was suspended on December 7.
While the firm’s business permit has been suspended, motorists can still pass through the NLEX interchanges in Valenzuela City without the need to pay the toll fee.
Gatchalian said a meeting is set for December 11 with the city government to discuss the details of the company’s December 10 response letter.
The use of RFID stickers for cashless transaction on all Luzon expressways started on December 1, as ordered by the DOTr and Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) as part of their toll collection interoperability project launched in 2017.
The program, however, started to cause heavy traffic at toll plazas even prior to December 1 with motorists scrambling to get their RFID stickers before the deadline.
NLEX Corp. earlier acknowledged that the implementation of mandatory cashless toll collection on December 1 had led to birth pains and technical problems.
DOTr earlier said no apprehensions of motorists would be made until January 11, and that the tollways may practice leniency toward those with no RFID stickers.