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NLEX Toll Holiday, Mayor Gatchalian and Barriers

Recently Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian suspended the business permit of the North Luzon Expressway in Valenzuela City.  The reason for this is due to the problems in the RFI system and the worsening traffic in the city.  On December 16, 2020 after talks, the business permit suspension was lifted following certain conditions. Is this good or bad?  Let us discuss.

RFID and Cashless System Not Yet Ready

On a Youtube video published by amPOGI Show, he discussed the suspension of the business permit and the problems hounding NLEX.  It is very clear that the RFID and cashless system of NLEX is not yet ready for full implementation.  There is a problem in the system and this is the main reason why they have not fully implemented it before.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an order by the Department of Transportation and the Tollway Regulatory Board, they were forced to fully implement a cashless system.

Lifting of Barriers is a Dangerous Move

Though I agree with Mayor Rex Gatchalian that in some way barriers can create traffic, I have to disagree that this is a good move.  Filipino drivers or at least some of them are undisciplined and will use every opportunity to use this for their own advantage.

Here are some of the problems and dangers of lifting the NLEX barriers:

  1. Drivers can use this to get fast RFID lanes without actually paying for the fee, and all they have to do is drive fast and getaway.  This was already reported by some workers in NLEX.
  2. This possess a danger to NLEX employees who are working along the tollgate.  Though there is signage that cars should slow down when approaching tollgates some may not head it now that barriers are open.  It might lead to accidents.
Barriers are not the cause of traffic, especially for cash lanes.  There should be a way to determine those people that would not pay the toll and then they should be given necessary penalties. In making public and private transportation better, it should work both ways for the company and the public.

Moving Back to Cash and Cashless System Mix is Needed

NLEX should move back to its previous mix of cashless and cash system while they work out on the problems of the RFID.  This systemic problem should be resolved asap and with clear goal in mind so that it can be fully implemented as soon as possible.

What do you think of the issue of NLEX?  Share your views, comments and suggestions by commenting on this article.