For those who live in the south of Manila, particularly in Las Piñas and Bacoor up to Naic, you may find yourself stuck in traffic every day when taking CAVITEX.
The reason is that CAVITEX is at heart of a major highway merger that hopes to ease travel for motorists going in and out of the city; the CAVITEX - C5 Link Expressway.
CAVITEX-C5 Link Expressway
Back in July, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) reported that the construction of the CAVITEX-C5 Link Expressway is in full swing, and upon its completion, around 50,000 motorists will benefit from the new toll road. By the time of its opening next year, CAVITEX and C5 will be just 8-minutes apart.
Since construction is in full swing, one lane along the southbound portion of CAVITEX had to be closed to give way for the construction of bridge columns of the elevated exit of the CAVITEX-C5 Link Expressway.
Cash lane users
Unfortunately, the construction is only part of the traffic problem. Despite CAVITEX's offer of free RFID installation (and low initial load of P200), many motorists still opt to pay cash. Granted, they may be trying to avoid the no balance three-strike policy. What bothers other motorists is that these drivers occupy two lanes at the area near the reloading station just before the toll plaza.
A lot of times, especially during the rush hour, some unruly cash-paying drivers don’t fall in line and create a third line, eating into the flowing lanes. Worse still, these motorists squeeze in at the last minute, right before reaching the barriers on the cash lane. This blocks the one lane serving RFID users who have been conscientious enough to top off their balance.
A counterflow lane was opened to address this, but it's still not enough to make up for the delay that the unruly cash-paying drivers cause. The bottleneck created and the vehicular volume (the worst I’ve experienced) reaches up to PITX.
Improvements installed at toll plazas
To better manage vehicular volume and hopefully mitigate traffic buildup, CAVITEX plans to install smart cameras at the toll plazas.
The Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) cameras in toll plazas of CAVITEX are hoped to improve the RFID toll collection system in the expressway. The ALPR system uses smart cameras to recognize a vehicle’s license plate, supporting RFID scanners to fast-track cashless transactions in toll plazas. Faster RFID toll collection means lesser traffic jams.
This technology has been in place at CAVITEX-C5 Link Segment 3A1 since its opening, as well as the ones used in North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
For now, a little more patience goes a long way. But probably a bigger help will be to switch to RFID and keep your balance topped up to ease the load on the cash lane. Or better yet, plan your travel using alternate roads to avoid the rush hour CAVITEX traffic jam when heading back to Las Piñas or Cavite.