Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian has lifted the suspension of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Corporation’s business permit in the city on the condition that the company will ensure its compliance with its undertaking to address issues caused by its radio-frequency identification (RFID) system problems.
Gatchalian on Wednesday issued Executive Order (EO) No. 2020-338 that conditionally lifts the suspension of NLEX’s business permit and business activities in the city starting 12:01 p.m. of Wednesday, December 16, following the signing of a Deed of Undertaking between the two parties.
This means NLEX will be able to collect toll again from motorists entering through Valenzuela City after more than a week.
NLEX Corporation said it will remove or lift all barriers in Valenzuela City toll plazas from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but toll fees will still be collected.
Meanwhile, barriers will be placed again from 10:01 p.m. to 4:59 a.m. daily for safety reasons.
This came after the barriers, which prevent motorists from entering the expressway without paying their toll first, partially caused massive gridlock on toll booths due to glitches on the company’s RFID or toll collection system.
The NLEX also said that it will reinstate cash lanes in “strategic locations in the toll plazas in the city” and vowed to completely address the growing consumer complaints on or before January 30 next year by upgrading its RFID system and account management.
“Both parties have also agreed to create a technical working group, composed of CGOV (city government) and NLEX key personnel, who will continuously meet to innovate traffic and account management initiatives,” the local government said in a statement.
The city government warned that if NLEX fails to comply with one of its stipulations stated on their undertaking or violates any local and national laws, rules and regulations, the local government will issue again its suspension order.
Gatchalian’s EO stated that the local government can do it “without any further notice or issuance.”
“Provided, furthermore, that in case NLEX Corporation fails to voluntarily suspend its business activity as stated in its Deed of Undertaking, the city government will automatically move to reinstate its Executive Orders suspending NLEX Corporation’s business permits and business activity relating to its operation in various toll fees’ locations within the city’s jurisdiction,” it added.
In their meeting on Monday at the Valenzuela City Hall, the two parties discussed how to address the RFID fiasco that had led to massive gridlock on the expressway and alleged violation of consumers’ rights.
Gatchalian challenged NLEX officials to immediately remove all its barriers if it is confident enough of its reported 98 percent RFID readability rate, before he could lift the suspension order.
But NLEX initially expressed hesitation, citing various regulatory and safety issues, although it said it would study Gatchalian’s proposal.
Gatchalian suspended on December 7 the company’s business permit due to “atrocious traffic situation” on the expressway caused by the glitches of its RFID system.