Toll road traffic volume picking up
Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., one of the country’s biggest expressway operators, is seeing traffic volume return following the relaxing of strict quarantine measures last June 1.
After a dramatic reduction during the first few weeks of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the COVID-19 health crisis, volume at toll roads such as the North Luzon Expressway have staged a recovery.
From a low of 10 percent, vehicular volume now stands at about 67 percent of prepandemic levels, said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chair of Metro Pacific Tollways’ parent firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
“We are optimistic it will return to normal,” Pangilinan told reporters in a recent interview. “It might take a few months.”
Relaxed lockdown rules have allowed more businesses to reopen, helping prop up economic activity. Pangilinan said the collapse in oil prices had also helped demand.
“We were hit at the start, as with most businesses. But the economy is showing some resiliency,” Pangilinan said.
Apart from NLEx, Metro Pacific Tollways operates the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Cavite Expressway. Some of its ongoing projects include the NLEx Connector Road, the Cavite Laguna Expressway and the Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway.
Outside the Philippines, it has invested in toll roads in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
Metro Pacific earlier said daily volume across its toll road network declined 6 percent to 479,860 in the first quarter of 2020. The period partly covers the strict lockdown of Metro Manila and other provinces starting mid-March due to COVID-19.
Metro Pacific Tollways had allotted around P107 billion to finish ongoing toll roads and extension projects.
It plans to spend another P25 billion if it secures the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway. The company expects the government to launch a competitive bidding exercise for the project in the second half of this year. INQ
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