Holy Week 2022 will soon be upon us, and many religious pilgrims and vacation travelers will be leaving Metro Manila to head to their destinations using Luzon’s expressways.
If the noticeable influx of motorists due to the downgrade of COVID-19 alert levels isn’t enough, traffic data shows that traffic volume rises during Holy Week by anywhere from 10% to 15%.
For a smoother and safer drive, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the Philippines’ biggest builder and operator of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Manila-Cavite (CAVITEX), CAVITEX C5 Link, and Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), is again implementing the “Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko” (SMSK) from April 8 to April 18, 2022.
SMSK, now on its 13th year, is MPTC’s motorist assistance program that is aimed at providing motorists with a safer and more convenient journey during the peak season.
Included in this program are the increased deployment of patrol crews, traffic marshals, security teams, and toll plaza personnel to ensure safety, and provide immediate assistance to motorists. As in the past, emergency medical services and incident response teams will also be augmented and will be stationed at strategic areas of the expressways.
Lane closures and mainline road works will also be suspended from April 8 to 18 unless safety repairs are necessary. Safety and directional signages are put in place to ensure unimpeded travel.
Updated traffic information will continually be posted on each of the expressways’ social media accounts, while the MPTC Hotline (1-35000) will be fully manned 24/7 to address immediate customer concerns.
This year’s SMSK will also provide free towing to the nearest exit for Class 1 vehicles, from 6:00am of April 13 up to 6:00am of April 18.
“With the easing of travel restrictions, there’s a lot more outdoor activity from the general public. As we return to some normalcy as compared to recent years, we have anticipated this increase in volume by fielding additional personnel and offering special roadside services,” said MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco.
For more convenient travel, motorists are encouraged to use RFID for faster and safer transactions. Those who have no RFID sticker yet may have it installed for free in any of the Easytrip installation sites, and pay the initial load.
Existing RFID users are advised to ensure that they have enough load prior to their travel. For the complete list of installation sites and reloading options, motorists may visit the Easytrip website www.easytrip.ph or download the MPT DriveHub app.
MPT DriveHub is an all-in-one travel app available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Drive Hub integrates three key functions in one: RFID transactions, trip planning, and emergency roadside assistance.
Motorists can check their RFID balance and reload their accounts within MPT DriveHub before they travel on NLEX, SCTEX, CAVITEX or CALAX. A toll fee calculator is also in the app to help users calculate how much load they need in their RFID accounts.
SMSK’s enhanced customer journey services are reflected in MPT DriveHub’s traffic update function, to help motorists anticipate traffic conditions ahead. Further, SMSK’s 24/7 roadside emergency services are just a tap away with the MPT DriveHub’s call button.
“MPT DriveHub is designed to make access and mobility efficient and easy for our customers. Aside from getting to their destination safely and conveniently, we want them to feel secure that we have these customer-centric services so they can focus on enjoying the journey,” added Franco
Especially when used in conjunction with MPT DriveHub, preparations made by MPTC are expected to improve the mobility of traveling public for the coming Holy Week.
“The app, the increased manpower deployment, the roadside services identified to respond to our customers’ needs for this coming Holy Week – these initiatives are synergistic – they all come together to create a travel experience that is safer and more relaxing,” closed Franco.