By THEPHILBIZNEWS STAFF
In anticipation of people traveling to celebrate this Christmas holiday, traffic is expected to happen during the week.
Cognizant of the volume of vehicles going out of Metro Manila, San Miguel Infrastructure encourages motorists to plan their trips and possibly travel during nonpeak hours and use RFID for faster transactions at the toll plazas to avoid lengthy delays and get to their destination safely.
Given this, the infrastructure arm of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has deployed additional traffic management personnel at all its tollways–the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway System, NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX)–to provide roadside assistance to motorists, and help manage the flow of vehicles at exit points.
This is in coordination with local police and the traffic bureaus of local government units.
“Traffic buildup and congestion at our expressways, ports, and airports is something we all expect at this time of the year, especially as restrictions have fully eased. We appeal to our motorists for their patience and understanding as we anticipate heavy traffic,” said SMC President Ramon S. Ang.
“What would be a big help is if we all plan our trips well ahead, and leave earlier to allot more time for travel, especially if you are catching a flight or scheduled bus trips. For motorists, we also suggest to please make sure your vehicles are in good condition, and that your electronic toll collection accounts are topped up, to prevent any delays to you and others,” Ang added.
Among additional personnel to be deployed are ambulant tellers, tasked with helping speed up vehicle throughput at toll plazas by scanning Autosweep cards along queues. As such, Ang advised motorists to always keep their Autosweep ETC cards ready in their vehicles.
Apart from the deployment of additional personnel, Ang said that its recently-launched “Seamless Southern Tollways” initiative is also part of its preparations for the holiday rush.
The program cuts down toll stops for motorists headed south via the Skyway System, SLEX, and STAR from five to just two–their entry and exit points–and turns the Calamba, SLEX Greenfield, and Sto. Tomas, Batangas toll plazas into pass-through lanes, reducing potential traffic chokepoints.
“We implemented the Seamless Southern Tollways initiative so motorists will no longer need to make as many stops and can fully enjoy seamless travel along Skyway, SLEX, and STAR. We started implementation last December 1, so that motorists can start feeling its benefits during the busy Christmas season. SMC Infrastructure had been working to complete the program since early this year, and we’re glad to report that so far, feedback on the initiative has been very positive,” said Ang.
“We’ve been seeing good results the first two weeks. Smoother traffic flow has been observed, and we’re hoping this will translate to a better driving and travel experience overall for many motorists this holiday season,” Ang added.
Ang said the company is also keeping its Autosweep customer service centers and RFID installation kiosks at gasoline stations along SLEX open, for motorists who have not yet availed of their free ETC sticker tags.
Meanwhile, as has been its tradition every year, Ang said that its SMC Infra is again waiving all toll fees at STAR, SLEX, the Skyway system, NAIAX, and the TPLEX, for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The “toll holiday” begins at 10:00 pm of December 24 to 6:00 am of December 25 for the Christmas holiday, and 10:00 pm of December 31 to 6:00 am of January 1 for the New Year holiday, the SMC president said.