By: Miguel R. Camus
Toll road operator NLEX Corp. is reopening the Philippine Arena Interchange in Bulacan province on Aug. 1 this year, helping ease road congestion in the area.
The company, which operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), said the interchange was closed due to the new coronavirus pandemic restrictions and its proximity to quarantine facilities in the Philippine Arena Complex.
As it opens up the access point, NLEX Corp. will require contactless transactions using RFID (radio-frequency identification) to curb the spread of COVID-19.
It said cash-paying motorists who will pass through the road would be required to sign up for an RFID account and to have RFID installed on their vehicles.
“The interchange is surrounded by a mega quarantine facility, a prospective terminal for northern provincial buses—both are inside the Philippine Arena complex, and a molecular testing laboratory located at the western portion,” NLEX Corp. president and general manager J. Luigi L. Bautista said in a statement.
“For everyone’s safety, we are implementing the RFID-only policy at the interchange. This would ensure physical distancing through cashless payments,” he added.
The shift to RFID is part of a broader Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board directive on the mandatory use of RFID.
This includes the ongoing RFID interoperability project aimed at unifying the electronic toll collection systems of all expressways in the country.
“We are committed to provide our customers with safer and innovative payment solutions such as the RFID. We have several installation sites within the expressway and even offer 24/7 RFID installation for those who are not available during specified business hours,” Bautista said.
The reopening of Philippine Arena Interchange adds to the recent opening of Tambobong Interchange. Both are vital in the decongestion of Bocaue Interchange and in easing mounting traffic along Governor F. Halili Road in Bocaue-Sta.Maria corridor.