Formally inaugurated on March 18th, the NLEX and SCTEX are now unified. The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) announced their P650 million project is now fully operational and has been completed, as they expect a 10% to 15% increase in traffic volume during Holy Week. The project integrates the NLEX and SCTEX toll collection systems into a single system, reducing toll collection stops to two instead of five from Balintawak to Subic and back and instead of four from Balintawak to Tarlac and back.
“The integration speeds up the queues on toll plazas. Motorists who will drive from Manila to Subic will just have to stop for toll payments at Balintawak and Subic or Tarlac. This will save them up to 40 minutes of travel time,” said Rodrigo Franco, MNTC President.
Present at the ceremonial drive-through ceremony, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, a proponent of the integration of the two toll systems, said that the move “will surely create a faster and more efficient traveling experience in the NLEX and SCTEX especially this coming Holy Week.”
The unified system of NLEX and SCTEX had MNTC construct seven new toll plazas in Tarlac, Subic-Tipo, Sta. Ines, and the northbound and southbound sides of Dau and Mabiga. Motorists will no longer need to stop at the existing NLEX Dau and SCTEX Mabalacat barriers as these are converted into pass-through lanes. By April, these would have been completely removed to provide motorists with a more comfortable travel. The Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) Toll Plaza will also be dismantled to better facilitate the integration of the two expressways.
The integrated toll collection has a common transit ticket system for both the NLEX’s closed system and that of the SCTEX’s. A single official receipt will be issued to motorists, showing a breakdown of the NLEX and SCTEX portion of their trips. Motorists will now have other payment options when traveling at the SCTEX since the unification, it now features electronic toll collection through Easytrip.
Photos by Neil Pagulayan