CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Pampanga Chamber and Commerce Industry Inc. (PamCham) Chairman Emeritus Levy Laus has urged the operators of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) to improve the electronic ticketing system (e-ticket) at the 84-kilometer expressway, including at the NLEx exit here patronized by some 12,000 motorists daily.

In the meeting at the Laus Group of Companies training center here on Wednesday, Laus said that long queues are experienced at the NLEx-City of San Fernando exit "even on an ordinary weekend."

Representatives of the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) led by Raul Ignacio, MNTC vice president for engineering and construction, said that they are set to install 26 antennas at the NLEx and Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) to improve the e-ticket system at the two expressways now controlled and operated by the Manuel Pangilinan-led company.

They said they have to change the old ones, which are not "adaptable" to the integration of both expressways.

The MNTC said the installation of the new antennas will start next week "or as soon as they arrive."

It added that it will prioritize the replacement of the antennas at the NLEx-San Fernando, one of the busiest exits of the NLEx.

PamCham president Jess Nicdao echoed the statements of Laus, adding that "traffic adversely affect businesses in Pampanga and its capital city."

Nicdao and Laus are the heads of the more than 500 members of PamCham, the premier business group in Central Luzon.

The PamCham, MNTC and other stakeholders on Wednesday approved the design for the portion of the busy highway near the NLEx exit here to address the worsening traffic affecting major businesses at the capital city.

The meeting was attended by Representative Oscar Rodriguez and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Director Antonio Molano Jr.

The portion of the Jose Abad Santos Avenue, which hosts giants malls of SM and Robinsons and the site of the Azure North Resorts Residences owned by the Century Properties, will have "signalized intersections" in consideration of the "lack of discipline" of motorists in the country, the stakeholders said. (Joey Pavia/Contributor)