PLUS Malaysia Bhd (PLUS), operator of the North-South Expressway (NSE), will be applying several strategies to channel traffic and strengthen its highway operations for smoother travels during the Chinese New Year holidays.
Based on previous travel patterns during festive seasons, PLUS expects traffic on NSE to be at its peak from Jan 26 to 31, as well as on Feb 4 and 5.
PLUS managing director Datuk Azman Ismail said they expected 1.6 million vehicles to be on the NSE during the peak days, which would be a 15% increase compared to traffic on a regular working day.
“Our strategy is aimed at distributing traffic on these peak days by offering toll rebates and issuing Travel Time Advisory (TTA),” he said during a press conference at Persada PLUS, Petaling Jaya on Wednesday. Azman said a 50% toll rebate would be offered exclusively to Class 1 vehicles users who pay toll electronically on the NSE and ELITE highway on Jan 27, Jan 30 and Feb 3 and 4.
This, he said, was an effort to entice consumers to drive at night and to balance traffic which was usually high during the day.
“Stalls at rest areas will be kept opened to serve food. Those who stop at the rest areas will be given free coffee,” he said.
On peak days, users using electronic payment would still required to pay the normal toll rates but the rebate would credited into their electronic cards when they top-up their cards at PLUS customer service centres between Feb 15 and May 14.
The toll rebate will not be applied to toll transactions at Penang Bridge, Tanjung Kupang, Bukit Kayu Hitam and Sultan Iskandar Building toll plazas.
PLUS also issued a Travel Time Advisory aimed at ensuring that road users do not converge at various locations on the mainline and contributing to traffic congestion.
Based on the TTA, PLUS chief operating officer Mohammad Fuad Khusairi said those traveling up north to Perlis, Kedah, Penang, north Perak and Johor would do well to enter the highway before noon.
Those heading to nearer destinations like Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, south Perak and central Perak should start their journey and enter the NSE after 2pm.
“This will allow vehicles traveling to further destinations to exit the highway before vehicles heading towards near destinations start entering the mainline,” he added.
Apart from that, PLUS will also be strengthening their workforce during the seasonal period by assigning more staff to manage the toll lanes, toll free helpline and placing 1,500 maintenance staff at rest areas, lay-bys and the mainline.
The PLUSRonda team will also be beefed up from the existing 322 teams to 339 to enable more rounds on the mainline, while 440 Rela personnel will be engaged for traffic management at 69 locations.
PLUS will be collaborating with various emergency agencies to be on standby at 14 strategic locations along the mainline. It will also place additional cranes and tow-trucks on standby at selected locations for any emergencies.
From Jan 25 to Feb 5, all roadworks will be halted, while contra flow at critical stretches will be active upon clearance from the police and rest areas, such as the Bukit Gantang Lay-by (North-bound), Machap Rest and Service Area (South-bound), Ayer Keroh Rest and Service Area (South-bound) and Senawang Lay-by (North-bound), would be reopened.
PLUS will also be monitoring traffic from the air between Jan 27 and 30.
Real-time traffic updates can be found via PLUS mobile apps, PLUSTrafik Twitter, PLUSLine and major radio stations.