CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Exasperating, irritating, time consuming and from worse to worst.
This was how motorists lined up for hours Wednesday at the City of San Fernando exits of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) described the long queues at the toll booths near Paskuhan Village from the north and that from the south from Manila.
“It has gone from worse to worst. We understand the situation during the holiday season when it was terrible. But the holiday season is over and it seems the long line of vehicles getting out of NLEx in San Fernando just gets longer and longer, particularly during rush hours, especially in the afternoon and early evening,” said Mario Bartolome, an executive who works for a firm in Clark Freeport and who takes on the expressway 12 times a week.
Stephen Garcia, who also uses the NLEx to get to his variety store in Mabalacat City, expressed his concern over the alleged inaction of the expressway’s management to ease the long pile of vehicles in the two exits in San Fernando.
“Alam mo, pagod ka na from work maghapon at gusto mo ng umuwi para makapagpahinga. (You know you are tired from work and you want to go home to take a rest) But then you get stuck up dito sa exit for almost an hour at kung minsan, mas matagal pa kasi ang daming sumisingit (sometimes there are those who overtake). In fairness to NLEx, sometimes mayroon silang ambulant toll people na sumasalubong pero kulang pa rin. Okay na sana iyung ginawa nila doon sa labas na tinanggal ang rotunda at may traffic lights na pero dito naman sa loob palabas nagkakaproblema. Sana solusyunan nila agad (Sometimes they have ambulant toll personnel who meet motorists but it’s not enough. What they did outside like taking out the rotunda and traffic lights are set up is a good start but the problem is not there, it’s the exit that is the problem. We hope they will find immediate solutions to this),” narrated Garcia.
Even commuters like Edward Sembrano who hails from Mabalacat City and works the night shift as a supervisor in a production outfit in the City of San Fernando, has observed the longer queues in the exits.
“I normally would take the jeep from Dau at around 4:00 pm to make it to work for the 6:00 pm shift. But since noong Christmas season hanggang ngayon, kailangan kong umalis ng mas maaga, (until now, I have to leave much earlier) about 2 p.m. dahil sa trapik sa mga exit (because of the traffic). Kami na ng mga kasama ko from Mabalacat ang nag-a-adjust kahit kulang sa tulog (We are the ones who are trying to adjust even if we lack sleep already),” he said.
Spotting SunStar Pampanga during its monitoring rounds near the exits, Councilor Reden Halili stopped and parked nearby Paskuhan Village after he got out of NLEx from Angeles City.
“I have been there, actually every day, for almost an hour just to get out of NLEx. The waiting time here is actually longer than the actual time from the point of origin. It’s really exasperating, irritating and inconvenient for motorists and commuters alike,” he said.
Seeing the situation, Halili disclosed that he will file a resolution before the City Council in its next session to ask NLEx Corporation officials to resolve the problem.
“There will have to be interventions and measures to address the concerns of motorists and commuters. What we will be asking lang naman are clarifications