The operator of the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) is opening an alternative entrance to the expressway next week to brace for increased traffic with the relaxed quarantine restrictions.

Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. (CIC) said the Pacific Drive, a 300-meter entryway from D. Macapagal Boulevard to CAVITEx, will be open starting Sept. 14 (Monday).

Pacific Drive is intended to help ease traffic coming from Roxas Boulevard and nearby roads, as traffic along CAVITEx has been increasing since quarantine restrictions were relaxed for Metro Manila and Calabarzon, CIC President Roberto V. Bontia said in the statement.

CIC is part of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), which also operates the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

The group will be implementing a 100% cashless toll starting Nov. 2, requiring all users to buy RFID (radio frequency identification) to pass through its expressways.

In a media briefing on Friday, Mr. Bontia said the whole tollways group expects an additional 500,000 new RFID subscribers in the coming months.

“In May, we had about 30% RFID usage. Latest figure is almost 40% penetration already. I think we will be able to hit the almost 100% RFID by November,” Mr. Bontia said.

“When we started the intensified program, we had about 700,000 subscribers. To reach 100% RFID, we are more or less eyeing close to 1.1 to 1.2 (million subscribers), so roughly additional 500,000 new subscribers (will come in),” he added.

The RFID program is part of the government’s order to toll road operators to use cashless payments to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

MPTC the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez with inputs from Arjay L. Balinbin