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NLEX eyes barrier-free tollways in November

MANILA, Philippines — The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) management plans to remove toll barriers in November to help ease traffic congestion, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The mandatory radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers on vehicles, which are used for electronic payment of fees on tollways, are also being looked into, according to NLEX.

Acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes on May 10 met with the NLEX management as they presented “programs and plans to speed up vehicular traffic along the expressway.”

Last month, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president Rogelio Singson revealed plans to fully implement the RFID system, which includes the use of a single RFID system in all tollways and gradual removal of all roadside equipment such as barriers and toll booths.

These plans are part of the company’s goal to fully digitalize toll operations, which could take “at least two years,” he said.

Singson, who was former president Benigno Aquino III’s public works and highways secretary, also sought the MMDA’s help in mandating motorists to use RFID stickers, and imposing fines on violators.

While NLEX enforcers are deputized by the Land Transportation Office to run after traffic violators, no law has been put in place to punish motorists without RFID stickers, Singson said.