METRO Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said it is allocating “less than a billion” for its subsidiary MPT Mobility this year, mainly for the latter’s digital solutions.

“We are, for this year, budgeting less than a billion for capex (capital expenditure). This is for MPT Mobility,” MPTC President and Chief Executive Officer Rodrigo E. Franco said during a virtual briefing on Feb. 24.

“Unless there is going to be another gas station project that normally [requires] bigger capex because that involves, in many cases, land acquisition,” he added.

He said most of MPT Mobility’s budget for the year will go to digital applications and solutions.

“That’s how we are positioning MPT Mobility. It’s going to be technologically driven and will be relying on digital solutions.”

MPT Mobility launched last week its MPT DriveHub, a smartphone application that houses the company’s mobility solutions for customers.

“MPT DriveHub is going to be an important distribution channel for our mobility services because it will reach all the motorist customers, initially of our expressways but eventually everyone who is traveling,” Mr. Franco noted.

“MPT DriveHub is going to be an important channel to communicate with them and deliver our products,” he added.

MPT Mobility Vice-President for Business Development Mark Richmund M. De Leon said the company is already developing the application “to introduce more services in the future such as e-wallets, motorists’ marketplace, and electric vehicle charging locator map to equip our motorists with more solutions.”

“We’re open to partnerships and app integrations to accelerate the MPT DriveHub’s service offerings,” he also said.

The application, which will be available on March 1, allows motorists to manage their trips through its three key features: RFID or radio-frequency identification transactions, trip planning, and roadside assistance.

Users of North Luzon Expressway, Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway, Manila–Cavite Expressway, Cavite–Laguna Expressway, and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway will be able to use the application.

MPTC is 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. — Arjay L. Balinbin