Just in time for the surge of road travelers this Holy Week, the Manila Tollways Corporation (MNTC) announced the full integration of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic, Clark, Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), which cuts time travel time from Manila to Subic or Tarlac, and back by 40 minutes. The NLEX-SCTEX integration means that motorists travelling from Manila to either Subic or Tarlac, now only needs to stop at two toll-booths as compared to the previous five.
“Seamless and faster travel can now be experienced at NLEX and SCTEX as toll collection stops are lessened and additional payment options are introduced,” said MNTC president Rodrigo Franco.
The integration project involves the conversion of NLEX and SCTEX toll collection s into one, single system thus reducing toll stops to two, instead of five.
According to Franco, the integration speeds up the queues on toll plazas, which ultimately saves motorists up to 40 minutes in travel time.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, who pushed for the integration of NLEX and SCTEX, was on hand during the inaugural pass-through at the Dau Toll Plaza. It can be recalled Drilon pushed for the integration of the two expressways after he personally experienced getting stuck along the two expressways for 11 hours because of inefficient toll collection.
Drilon lauded the integration and said, “I am glad that our travelers can now enjoy a faster and more efficient experience when using the NLEX and SCTEX, which is important especially this Holy Week period when these expressways are expecting a 10-percent to 15-percent surge in traffic volume.”
Motorists traveling to either Subic or Tarlac will no longer need to stop at the NLEX Dau and SCTEX Mabalacat toll booths as these have been converted into pass-through lanes. By April, the Dau and Mabalacat toll-booths will be demolished and removed to provide motorists with a more comfortable travel experience. The Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) Toll Plaza will also be dismantled to better facilitate the integration of the two expressways.
With the two choke points removed, MNTC has constructed seven new toll plazas in Tarlac, Subic-Tipo, Santa Ines, and the northbound and southbound sides of Dau and Mabiga.
The integrated toll collection makes use of a common transit ticket system. A single official receipt will be issued to motorists, showing the breakdown of the NLEX and SCTEX portion of their trips.
Besides the intergration, MNTC also announced that motorists will now have other payment options when using the SCTEX, since like the NLEX, it now features electronic toll collection through Easytrip.
Meanwhile, the MNTC announced that they will also implement “Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko” (SMSK) along NLEX, SCTEX and CAVITEX that will enhance the traffic management and toll collection services during the Holy Week.
Additional patrol vehicles and enforcers will be fielded to immediately respond to distressed motorists. Additional ambulant tellers with portable toll collection gadgets will also be deployed to service the expected increase in traffic.
During the Holy Week, MNTC and its partners will also provide free services such as towing, basic mechanic services, first aid treatment, bottled water, telephone calls and even Wi-Fi in designated locations along NLEX, SCTEX and CAVITEX. Free drinking water and sunblock will also be available at SMSK Motorist Camps in NLEX Dau rest bay northbound, SCTEX Concepcion northbound, Pitabunan southbound and Floridablanca restbay, and CAVITEX Paranaque and Kawit toll plazas.
“Beyond the Lenten season, we are hoping we can do our part to help lessen the travel time of the motorists who ply our expressways daily,” Franco said. “Less time on the road means more time for productive work, or more quality time for the family,” he added.