Over the weekend, there has been a brewing issue between the City of Valenzuela and the NLEX Corporation. It's all because of the implementation of cashless transactions at the expressway. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian demanded that NLEX give an action plan on how they were to address the issues of the EasyTrip radio frequency identification (RFID) system of the company that has led to massive traffic in the general area, particularly in Valenzuela.
In a written reply, NLEX Corporation requested 15 days to be able to respond to the concerns raised by the Mayor in the letter. Mayor Gatchalian was having none of it, citing in a social media post that “the RFID system in your tolls have been there for years”, and that by “saying that Dec, 1 is the date of reckoning clearly is not factual”. The chief executive of Valenzuela further went on saying that the company's RFID system has been faulty and that the letter sent by NLEX did not meet the City Hall's request for “concrete action plans and solutions”.
Gatchalian gave NLEX until 5:00 PM today, December 7, to take full responsibility for the shortcomings of the RFID system, to issue a public apology, as well as issue a toll holiday to make up for the damages to the public.
Well, that deadline has passed, and the city is now making good on their word: they are suspending the business permit and business operations of NLEX in Valenzuela City. In fact, the Mayor himself personally went to the toll gates within Valenzuela City and served the suspension, and forced the barriers to be opened and sensors to be shut off for all motorists.
With the NLEX permit suspended in Valenzuela City, the NLEX will not be permitted to conduct business -meaning no collection of fees of any kind, electronically or otherwise- at toll gates that are inside the city's borders. If we're not mistaken, that would mean NLEX Mindanao Avenue, the NLEX Paso de Blas/Valenzuela, NLEX Harbor Link Karuhatan will not be allowed to collect fees. NLEX Lingunan and NLEX Lawang Bato are tollway exits only without a toll gate.
Until Valenzuela City is satisfied with the actions of the NLEX Corporation over the RFID system that the Mayor himself called “abysmal”, we can expect a toll holiday if you're entering via Valenzuela City's toll gates. We're still trying to understand it, but on the surface, it means the NLEX can't charge you the 54 peso entry fee in Valenzuela. That's because the barriers will be left open, and the sensors shut off.
The suspension of NLEX's business permit in Valenzuela City does not cover other toll plazas in other cities or municipalities like NLEX Balintawak, which is in Quezon City.