By Emmie V. Abadilla
Starting this year, the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the holding company of NLEX, SCTEX, and CAVITEX, is expanding the coverage of its annual motorist assistance program.
Now, it will include not just this year’s Holy Week and Christmas holidays but also the forthcoming long weekends during the “Araw ng Kagitingan” (April 7-9), National Heroes’ Day (August 25-27) and Bonifacio Day (November 30-December 2).
The “Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko” (SMSK), MPTC’s annual motorist assistance program, ensures hassle-free travel during holidays by enhancing all services in all three MPTC-owned expressways.
Apart from expanding the coverage to the long weekends, the SMSK will also render 24-hour free towing services for Class 1 vehicles during the specific periods instead of the usual 12-hour operation.
“We are implementing a more extensive SMSK starting this Holy Week to improve our services for safe and convenient travel between Metro Manila and Central and North Luzon provinces,” announced MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco.
From March 23 to April 2, NLEX-SCTEX traffic personnel will devote extended working hours and intensified patrol coverage to manage the expected surge of vehicles in Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Bocaue, Sta. Ines, Tarlac, and Subic-Tipo toll plazas.
Additional patrol and incident response teams will also be ready to assist motorists at all interchanges and fuel stations.
On the peak hours of March 28, 29, and April 1, the Balintawak Toll Plaza will open 24 toll collection points while Mindanao Avenue and Tarlac toll plazas will open 10 and 29 toll collection points, respectively.
Portabooths and portable toll collection equipment will be used to speed up transactions.
By April 1, the Bocaue Toll Plaza will have a maximum of 62 toll collection points in operation for motorists going back to Metro Manila.
During the same period, CAVITEX will deploy more traffic patrol officers and security personnel to manage the traffic and assist motorists.
Ambulant tellers will be on standby to facilitate faster toll transactions.
Road works at the NLEX-SCTEX and CAVITEX will be suspended beginning March 23 until April 2 unless safety repairs are required.
On March 28 to April 1, MPTC and its partners will set up SMSK Motorist Camps and provide free services such as free calls and Wi-Fi, free drinking water, free basic mechanic services and first aid treatments in designated locations along NLEX, SCTEX, and CAVITEX.
Free towing services to the nearest exit will be offered to Class 1 from 6 a.m. of March 28 to 12 midnight of April 1.
SMSK is co-presented by Caltex and supported by Nutri-Asia, Shell, Smart, PLDT, Maynilad, Prestone, and media partners Manila Bulletin, TV5, The Philippine Star and Manila Standard.