No penalty for motorists without RFID stickers until Jan. 11 — DOTr

Marje Pelayo   •   November 25, 2020   •   451

MANILA, Philippines — The full implementation of cashless transactions in all major expressways in the country is all set for December 1.

This means all tollways will no longer accept cash payment in line with the government’s effort to curb the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This is the reason why motorists are encouraged to secure RFID stickers as early as possible.

Motorists using the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) and the Cavite–Laguna Expressway (CALAEx) are required to have the Easy Trip RFID sticker.

Meanwhile, motorists plying the Skyway, South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIAx), Star Tollway and the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEX) are required to have the Autosweep RFID sticker.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified however, that the December 1 deadline is set only for tollway operators and it does not apply to motorists.

“Iyong pagkakabit po kasi ng RFID stickers ay magpapatuloy kahit matapos na ang December 2020 lalo na para doon sa mga first time toll users sa mga bagong sasakyan,” said DOTr ASec. Goddess Hope Libiran.

“Kung puno na ang slots sa online appointment systems doon ka po sa tollgate kakabitan,” she added.

The DOTr will have a transition period for motorists to have ample time to adapt to the system.

From December 1 to January 11, 2021, motorists without RFID stickers will not be penalized even if they pass the tollways.

“After January 11 hindi na po lahat ng lanes sa tollgate ay pwedeng maconvert na stickering lane. Maari lang po silang ma-tiketan kung sila po ay pipila doon sa RFID only lane lalo na kung sila ay magdudulot po ng aberya o ng abala dun sa mga sasakyan na nasa likuran nila,” Libiran said.

As the deadline approaches, the DOTr will intensify its RFID installation making it operational 24/7 aside from the online appointments and special lanes so that more motorists will be able to avail.

Meanwhile, tollway operators advised motorists to refrain from purchasing RFID stickers online to avoid problems and make sure the stickers are installed properly.

“We’re just imposing few more controls because ang pagkakabit ng sticker by the customers themselves. We also found out medyo prone to mistakes. Sa dami po ng klase ng sasakyan natin meron pa ring margin of error na pagdating po natin sa toll lane magkakaproblema,” reminded Atty Romulo Quimbo Jr, MPTC Chief Communications Officer.

DPWH targets to open first 5-km of NLEX connector before end of 2021

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced on Wednesday (January 20) that it targets to open the 5-kilometer portion of the NLEX Connector by the end of 2021.

The first 5 kilometers of the NLEX Connector links Caloocan Interchange, C3 and España Boulevard in Manila.

“Spanning a total of eight kilometers, the DPWH said the full NLEX Connector will be an all vehicle class elevated expressway that will traverse the C3 Road in Caloocan City pass through Abad Santos, Blumentritt, Dimasalang, España, Magsaysay Boulevard and eventually connect with the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa in Manila,” the DPWH said.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the project aims to ease traffic along EDSA.

The full NLEX Connector that spans 8 kilometers will feature four toll plazas and interchanges from C3 and España.

It is expected to reduce travel time between NLEX and South Luzon Expressway from two hours to just 20 minutes.

The 23-billion project is also seen to provide better access to Manila Ports (North Harbor) and airports (NAIA and Clark).

Kapag natapos itong connector lalong luluwag ang EDSA kasi lahat ng trucks na galing sa port magkakaroon ng option na mag NLEX or mag SLEX (As soon as the connector is completed, EDSA will be decongested as all trucks from the port will have the option to use either the NLEX or SLEX),” he said.

Villar said as they strive to complete the first 5 kilometers, they will also target to complete the NLEX Connector up to Sta. Mesa, Manila before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends. —AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Bicol International Airport construction progress rate now at 72.2% — DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The construction of the Bicol International Airport (BIA) project is moving at a fast pace, logging an overall progress rate of 72.2 percent, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Wednesday.

The actual construction of the airport started in December 2016.

It is comprised of Packages 2A and 2B. The DOTr said that as of January 13, 2021, the package 2A of the BIA Development project is now 88.2 percent complete.

Construction work in Package 2A is being handled by the Sunwest Construction and Development Corp. and covers the airport’s landside facilities, such as the Administration Building, Air Traffic Control Building, Crash Fire Rescue Building, and the Maintenance Building.

Package 2B of the airport project, meanwhile, is now 49.5 percent complete. Package 2B which is being handled by the E.M. Cuerpo construction company, covers the construction of the passenger terminal building (PTB), taxiway, runway extension, and other site development works.

Once completed, the Bicol International Airport, which features the iconic Mayon Volcano as its magnificent backdrop, is expected to serve a total of 2 million airline passengers every year.

The new international airport is also projected to boost air traffic in the region amid the existing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The BIA initially started construction in 2008. However, development works were uncompleted until 2012.

“When the Duterte administration came in 2016, the airport’s Package 2A and 2B projects were continued,” the DOTr said in a statement.

An important component of the Duterte Administration’s “Build, Build, Build” Program, the BIA also intends to be an instrumental in the transformation of Albay Province, and the rest of the Bicol Region, into a strong economic contender.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade stressed the importance of having continuous transport infrastructure developments such as the BIA, which will prove vital as the country starts recovering from the impact of COVID-19.

“It can’t be denied that the aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. That’s why it is important that we finish the airport at the soonest possible time, as this will absolutely give the economy a boost,” Tugade said.

“Gusto ko matapos ‘yan within the year dahil gusto na natin itong agad na mapakinabangan ng ating mga kababayan. As we ready for take-off, kung baga, dapat all systems go,” he added.

NLEX, naghahanda na sa posibleng pagdagsa ng mga motorista

Robie de Guzman   •   December 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagpakalat na ang pamunuan ng North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) ng mahigit 1,200 marshalls para sa inaasahang pagdagsa ng mga motorista ngayong holiday season.

Ayon sa NLEX, ang mga marshall ay itatalaga sa security patrols, emergency response at radio-frequency identification (RFID) assistance.

Inaasahan ng toll operator ang bahagyang pagtaas ng bilang ng mga bibiyahe para samantalahin ang mahabang holiday.

Sa tala ng NLEX, nasa 288,000 mga sasakyan ang dumaan sa NLEX pati na sa SCTEX nitong buwan ng Nobyembre at inaasahang tataas ito ng 10 hanggang 12 porsiyento ngayong holiday season.

Tiniyak naman ng NLEX Corporation na mananatiling nakabukas ang cash lanes para sa mga motoristang wala pang RFID tag at ngayon lamang ulit dadaan sa expressway.

“Expect a little more queues as we near Christmas… You can see our motorists who have not gotten their RFID stickers. They still have to queue on the cash lanes. But we are trying to move it as fast as possible,” ang pahayag ni Atty. Junji Quimbo, Senior Vice President ng NLEX Corporation.

Mananatili ring bukas ang cash entry lanes sa South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIAx), STAR at Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) para sa mga hindi pa nagpapakabit ng RFID sticker.

Sa ngayon ay maluwag pa ang sitwasyon ng trapiko sa Balintawak toll plaza bagaman may kaunting build up sa cash lanes.

Ayon kay Quimbo, nakatulong para maibsan ang mabigat na trapiko sa toll plazas ang pag-aalis sa RFID installation booths sa mismong toll gates.

“The instances of glitches are going down, we, of course, record every possible glitch that happens but the smoother flow in traffic at the toll gates especially along the RFID lanes have shown improvements. There are no more long queues there,” ang pahayag ni Quimbo. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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