A member of the House of Representatives is seeking a congressional inquiry that will look into the establishment of a unified electronic toll collection system in the tollways and expressways in Luzon as a way to solve traffic jams caused disparate e-payment systems.
Negros Occidental representative Alfredo “Albee” B. Benitez has sought the inquiry through House Resolution 1702, saying the objective of building the expressways, which is to ease traffic in national roads, is defeated by the long line of vehicles at the toll gates.
“The objective of constructing the expressways is to ease the traffic in national roads and thus facilitate faster travel from the Metro to various provinces in Luzon. But this is somehow negated by the traffic, which heavily occurs near the toll gates, because cars need to make a brief stop for payment of toll fees,” said Benitez, a former CEO of an online gambling firm before being elected as a lawmaker.
Benitez noted that electronic toll systems have been put in place in some of the expressways like the E-Pass in the Southern Luzon Expressway and EC-Tag in the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to lessen the manual transaction of paying toll fees that causes bottlenecks in the SLEX and NLEX.
He said some motorists use these expressways, but since each of the expressways has a different operator, those who have availed of the E-Pass in SLEX, for instance, cannot use this in the NLEX.
“It behooves the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to come up with a mechanism for efficient tolling system to include, among others, requiring a unified electronic tagging or ticketing system among all of the expressways in the region in order to promote convenience for the commuting public, eliminate heavy traffic and reduce travel time especially during the holidays,” said Benitez.
He said traffic congestion on the major roads and expressways has been a perennial problem in Luzon.
So far, he said seven expressways in Luzon have been constructed namely: SLEX; NLEX; Skyway; Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR); Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX); Manila-Cavite-Expressway (Cavitex/Coastal Road), and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).