Valenzuela to NLEx: Fix RFID-induced traffic or lose business permit
MANILA, Philippines — The North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) Corporation runs the risk of losing its business permits in Valenzuela if it does not resolve the heavy traffic in the city generated by the automated tolling system, Mayor Rex Gatchalian said on Friday.
In a letter posted by Gatchalian on his Facebook page, the local executive blamed the radio frequency identification (RFID) toll collection system for slowing traffic flow in the city.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) mandated all tollways to adopt cashless systems to reduce human-to-human transactions. However, last-minute RFID applications led to horrendous traffic at the major tollways as the cashless mode was implemented last Tuesday.
“This serves as our formal complaint and final demand against your corporation for the unusually heavy traffic in Valenzuela City being caused by your RFID system and toll booths since the full implementation of cashless toll collection last December 1,” Gatchalian said in the letter to NLEx Corporation chief operating officer Raul Ignacio.
“You only have 24 hours from receipt of this letter to file with the City Government your action plan to solve the RFID fiasco. Likewise, you only have 72 hours […] to file your explanation why the City Government should not suspend your business permit in view of your miserable failure to comply with your obligations […],” he added.
Valenzuela sits on Metro Manila and Central Luzon’s borderline, and a huge stretch of NLEx’s initial portions lies in the city. From Balintawak Toll Plaza in the northbound lane, three of the first exits in NLEx are found in Valenzuela: Karuhatan exit through the Smart Connect Interchange, Malinta exit, and Lawang Bato exit.
Many of NLEx’s offices and businesses also lie within Valenzuela’s jurisdiction.
While Gatchalian acknowledged that the RFID issue is not the only reason for the heavy traffic, this problem compounds other factors like the lack of number coding schemes due to the pandemic, the absence of a truck ban, and the holiday rush.
He also noted that this is not the first time he called NLEx’s attention to the faulty cashless systems — which drawback even before the mandatory RFID systems were in place.
“It is indeed appalling that my call on behalf of my constituents fell on deaf ears as you still have the same terrible system seven years ago,” Gatchalian noted.
INQUIRER.net has sought the side of NLEx Corporation and the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation on Gatchalian’s threat, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.
On Thursday, Gatchalian also vented his frustrations at the problematic RFID system on Facebook, saying that commuters and motorists of Valenzuela deserve better. [ac]
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