TRB: Some motorists exploit barriers-up system along NLEX

THE Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) said on Wednesday that some motorists use the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Valenzuela without paying because of the barriers-up policy, resulting in revenue loss.

“As to the problem, I already gave an opinion to the NLEX Corp. that they can apprehend motorists [who are abusing the barriers-up system],” TRB Executive Director Alvin A. Carullo said during a House budget hearing.

He said NLEX Corp. is now apprehending non-paying motorists.

“Kaya ‘yung sinasabi na pagkawala ng income ng NLEX at siyempre ng gobyerno [addressed] na po ‘yun (The problem that results in revenue loss has been addressed),” Mr. Carullo added.

The Valenzuela City government suspended the business permit of NLEX Corp. in December last year over the heavy traffic caused by the implementation of its cashless toll payment system.

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex T. Gatchalian lifted the suspension after both parties agreed to keep the toll barriers up on all lanes for vehicles with RFID (radio-frequency identification) stickers.

Terry L. Ridon, convenor of infrastructure-oriented thinktank InfraWatch PH, said in a statement on Sept. 9: “While the intention of Valenzuela to ensure the seamless flow of traffic is laudable, this is the big picture: at least 8,000 motorists are exploiting the barriers up policy within the NLEX open system every day.”

“This constitutes a revenue loss of P500,000 per day and more importantly, a loss of value-added tax revenue of P18.7 million per year.”

He said a “no contact apprehension system” will put a rest to such risks and ensure that the barriers-up policy will remain a viable policy. — Arjay L. Balinbin