Valenzuela mayor threatens to suspend NLEX's permit over heavy traffic due to RFID system

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Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian on Friday threatened to suspend the business permit of the NLEX Corporation over the recent heavy traffic caused by its new tollway system. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 4) — Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian on Friday threatened to suspend the business permit of the NLEX Corporation over the recent heavy traffic caused by its new tollway system.

In a complaint dated Nov. 3, Gatchalian gave the company an ultimatum, asking its officials to submit a response in the next few days or face consequences.

"You only have 24 hours from receipt of this letter to file with the City Government your action plan to solve your RFID fiasco," the letter addressed to NLEX COO Raul Ignacio stated. "Likewise, you only have 72 hours from receipt of this letter to file your explanation why the City Government should not suspend your business permit in view of your miserable failure to comply with your obligations."

Three days ago the company fully launched its RFID or Radio Frequency Identification systems at toll booths, including some in Valenzuela City, to shift to cashless transactions.

The system was designed to scan RFID stickers on vehicles to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through human contact. But in the first few days of its full implementation, the project backfired and caused heavy traffic due to sensor errors, lack of sufficient load in motorists' RFID accounts, and non-compliance to the sticker requirement. The results showed tons of cars waiting in line in standstill traffic.

Gatchalian said he previously spoke with Ignacio, but his concerns allegedly "fell on deaf ears."

"Until you get your act together and perfect your existing tollway systems, the City Government may withdraw as your partner in your future planned expansions in our jurisdiction," the complaint added.

As for toll gate officials, they earlier said heavy traffic congestion was expected since not all vehicles may have had their stickers installed yet, not to mention the implementation began after a long weekend. Prior to that however, there have already been calls to extend the RFID requirement deadline foreseeing these problems.

CNN Philippines has reached out to NLEX Corporation for comment.