28 January 2016

NLEx-SCTEx integration nears completion, to cut tollway travel time

THE TOLLWAYS arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said the P650-million project integrating the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), which will cut travel time from Balintawak to Subic by up to 40 minutes, is nearing completion.

The NLEx and SCTEx integration, which is currently 85% finished, is expected to be operational by March, as the firm braces for a surge in traffic volume during the Holy Week, Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) Assistant Vice-President Glenn G. Campos reporters during an inspection of the project yesterday.

“The integrated system will be operational by March because we are expecting a 15%-20% surge in volume during the Holy Week,” he said.

Around 200,000 vehicles travel through the NLEx every day, while 35,000 pass thorough the SCTEx. The combined vehicular traffic is expected to increase 5%-7% this year, MNTC Senior Vice-President Raul L. Ignacio said at the same venue.

As part of the integration, the company is reducing toll collection stops, while toll plazas at Dau and Mabalacat are being converted to pass-through lanes.

Motorists can also start using the EasyTrip Tag on both tollroads. Around 20%-25% of NLEx’s motorists use the digital payment scheme, while all SCTEx users pay in cash.

“We are estimating [time] savings to be at 35 to 40 minutes,” Mr. Campos said. “If your travel time from Balintawak to Tarlac used to take one hour and 50 minutes, it will be reduced to one hour and 10 to 15 minutes.”

The company said toll rates will remain unchanged as the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has yet to act on its petitions for rate hikes.

Last Sept. 30, 2015, MNTC filed a petition with the TRB for toll rate adjustment and the inclusion of a 12% value added tax at the SCTEx. If granted, SCTEx toll rates would rise by P4.67 per kilometer (km) for Class 1 vehicles, P9.32 per km for Class 2 vehicles, and P13.97 per km for Class 3 vehicles.

MNTC had earlier said it is spending more than P1.5 billion to upgrade the SCTEx over the next three years, saying the upgrade will make it at par with the NLEx. (Daphne J. Magturo, BusinessWorld)


SCTEX toll plaza at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (AMD/MPD-SBMA)