NLEX Corp. announced on Thursday that it has allocated P1.2 billion for this year’s capital expenditures to improve customer experience.

“The tollway company sets out various initiatives to upgrade its infrastructure, toll collection system, and account management system,” NLEX Corp. said in an e-mailed statement.

These projects, which comprise, among other things, the upgrading of the North Luzon Expressway’s (NLEX) core system and equipment, are anticipated to enhance the processing of lane transactions.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) users, who make up 70% of expressway motorists, can expect speedier recording of passages, balances, and reloads, as well as better tracking of individual and corporate accounts, the company said.

“Aside from conducting software upgrade and system migration, NLEX Corp. will also replace its toll system equipment within the year,” it added.

At the same time, the company said that nearly 100 toll system equipment along the expressway will be upgraded. The project will cover its toll plazas in Balintawak, Karuhatan, Paso de Blas, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Tabang, Sta. Rita, Pulilan, San Simon, San Fernando, Mexico, and Angeles.

The company intends to upgrade the expressway’s toll fare indicators, lane status indicators, traffic control gates, automatic vehicle classification devices, and loop detectors, among others.

“The new equipment will boost operational efficiency as these will enable faster and more accurate transactions and guide motorists better at the plazas,” it said.

“In line with this progress, RFID users are constantly being reminded to be responsible motorists by maintaining sufficient balance in their account before traveling since the tollway company had observed that a number of motorists repeatedly pass the RFID lanes without load or without enough load to cover their trips.”

NLEX Corp. is part of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the tollway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

MPIC is 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