By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
NLEX Corp. will implement a higher toll fee at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) starting March 20.
This after the company said on Wednesday that the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) gave the go signal to collect P10 in additional toll fees in its open system or the fixed rate for vehicles traveling within Quezon City, Caloocan City, Valenzuela City, Malabon, Meycauayan and Marilao.
NLEX Corp. was also allowed to collect an additional P0.18 per kilometer in its closed system, or the rates which are based on distance traveled.
Under the new matrix, the open system toll fee went up to P55 from P45 for Class 1 vehicles; P137 from P114 for Class 2 vehicles; and P165 from P136 for Class 3 vehicles.
For those traveling end to end of the expressway (or from the EDSA Balintawak exit or the Mindanao Avenue exit in Quezon City up to Sta. Ines, Mabalacat City in Pampanga), the adjusted toll fee is P258 from P236 for Class 1 vehicles;
P646 from P590 for Class 2 vehicles; and P775 from P708 for Class 3 vehicles.
The approval from the TRB came after the expressway operator opened last week the NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10, which extended the toll road from Karuhatan, Valenzuela City to C3, Caloocan City.
The adjusted toll fees took into account the first tranche of NLEx rate increases that the government delayed from their due implementation in 2013 and 2015, which amounts to P4 for the open system and P0.18 per kilometer in the closed system. It also included the P6 add-on to the open system rate for Harbor Link.
“For the past seven years… NLEX Corp. has not enjoyed the periodic toll rate increases covered by its concession agreement with the government. This however, has not prevented the tollway company from making new investments to improve and enhance the services to its thousands of motorists,” the company said in its statement.
NLEX Corp. filed an arbitration case against the government in 2016 where it sought a compensation of P3 billion for the delayed rate adjustments in NLEx.
Another unit of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), Cavite Infrastructure Corp., also sought a compensation of P877 million for supposed government inaction on its toll hike petitions for the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) due in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The group estimated its claims against the government as of June 2017 was at P7.5 billion. MPTC said in August 2018 it was willing to drop the arbitration case to arrive at an agreeable solution.
As compromise, NLEX Corp. said it reduced the toll increase by P1 to P2 across-the-board, as requested of the government, “to cushion the impact of the adjustments.”
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, MPTC parent Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said the remaining 50% of the due adjustments are expected to be implemented in the coming years.
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.