A solon is calling for the adoption of a unified ticketing and payment system for expressways in Luzon as the Holy Week exodus is expected to cause a bottleneck at the tollbooths.
Besides the more popular and widely-used North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway and STAR Tollway, the Luzon Expressways Network is also composed of the North Luzon East Expressway, North Luzon West Expressway, CALABARZON Loop, Tarlac-Nueva Ecija-Aurora Expressway and the Infanta-Cabanatuan Scenic Superhighway.
Though traveling on these expressways have significantly improved in recent years, Rep. Jack Enrile (1st District, Cagayan,) said motorists continue to experience delays, particularly during peak holiday seasons, as the volume of vehicles build up at tollbooths due to payment inefficiencies. Enrile also pointed out that most motorists who need to pass through several expressways on the way to their destinations have no choice but to line up and manually pay for their expressway ticket since there is no single pass that they could interchangeably use in the expressways.
"If you notice, there is usually a shorter line at automated tollbooths. This is because motorists opt to pay manually since they cannot use their EC Tag on SLEX and the E-Pass on NLEX. This is the same with other expressways like the SCTex and STAR Tollway," said Enrile. "A unified payment system will make payment more friendly for our motorists--especially those who need to pass through several before finally reaching their destination. This system will undoubtedly cut travel time and lessen irritants that motorists encounter in the road, such as traffic bottlenecks."
Another measure that Enrile proposed to lessen the buildup of traffic at the tollbooths is for the tollway operators to come up with a program that would allow long-term toll payments at discounted rates.
"By re-engineering toll way payments and allowing long-term toll fee payments, we will not only make it more convenient for regular users of the expressways to pay toll fees, it can also be used to roll out a selective cumulative quantity discount program for users in this category," Enrile added.
Last March, Metro Pacific Tollways, the operator of the NLEX, revealed that it had already submitted a proposal to the operators of the Skyway and SLEX to interconnect their respective electronic payment systems with one another.