VEHICLES approach the NLEX Balintawak toll plaza, May 18, 2021. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

MOTORISTS will start paying higher toll fees at the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (CAVITEX) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) starting May 12.

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has given the go signal for Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. (CIC) and joint venture partner Philippine Reclamation Authority’s (PRA) application to adjust rates at the CAVITEX Parañaque Toll Plaza.

Toll rates for Class 1 vehicles (cars and SUVs) will be increased to P33 from the current P25, while those for Class 2 vehicles (minivans and buses) will be raised to P67 from the current P50.

Toll fees for Class 3 vehicles (large trucks and trailers) will be hiked to P100 from the current P75.

“(The TRB approved) the 2011 and 2014 contractual tariff adjustments toll petitions of CIC and PRA, as well as its add-on toll petition for Phases 1 and 2 enhancement works done in CAVITEX R-1 Expressway that was completed in 2020,” the company said in a statement.

These enhancements included the completion of asphalt overlay along CAVITEX, provision of the Pacific flyover and left turn facility, bridge widening, and maintenance work. CIC said around an average of 160,000 motorists use CAVITEX every day.

“To help public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers cope with the change, CIC and PRA will be providing them toll rate reprieve through a rebate program that will allow them to continue enjoying the old rates for the next three months,” the company said.

Meanwhile, NLEX Corp. said the TRB greenlit its application to raise toll rates by P2 in the open system and P0.34 per kilometer in the closed system.

There is a flat rate for the NLEX open system (Balintawak to Marilao), while the closed system (Bocaue to Mabalacat) applies per-kilometer rates.

Starting May 12, motorists on NLEX’s open system will pay an additional P2 for Class 1 vehicles, P6 for Class 2 vehicles, and P8 for Class 3 vehicles. Existing rates are P60, P149, and P179 for Classes 1, 2, and 3 vehicles, respectively.

Motorists traveling the expressway’s closed system between Metro Manila and Mabalacat will pay an additional P27 for Class 1, P69 for Class 2, and P82 for Class 3 vehicles.

“To help cushion the impact of the toll increase, public utility jeepneys (PUJs) under the NLEX Passada and Tsuper Card discount and rebate program will continue to enjoy the old rates. Provincial buses will also be covered by a graduated rebate scheme for a period of three months,” NLEX Corp. said.

CIC and NLEX Corp. are under 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