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Beginning Sunday, June 17, those who drive on the Northern Corridor (Corredor Norte) will have to pay for their passage using a card, according to officials at the Empresa Nacional de Autopista (ENA). The cards cost $2 and have a minimum deposit requirement of $5.
By swiping the card in front of an electronic reader at the toll booths along the Northern Corridor, users will benefit from an expedited passage, as cash payment requires more time per vehicle. The difference is eight seconds. According to ENA, an average of 12 seconds is required to complete cash payment and four seconds for electronic payment.
Drivers still without cards should seek out a lane marked by a sign with the word “RECARGA” signifying an attendant-manned booth where a teller can accept cash to pay for the card and deposit.
In the North as
it is in the South
Panama City’s other toll highway, the Southern Corridor (Corredor Sur), implemented this card-only policy last year. In the future, ENA reports plans to connect the two superhighways, permitting drivers to circumvent the entire metropolis.
Also in future plans is the unification of cards, so that drivers will not have to carry two. Another plan for 2014 is the implementation of the express lane on the Northern Corridor. This super-expeditious lane is currently available on the Southern Corridor, where drivers use a bar code sticker placed on the windshield of their vehicle that deducts the toll directly from a bank card upon passing.
This option is popular for heads of households and business owners who by using this option are able to keep track of the passages made by their family members, chauffeurs and employees. The bar code “Sur Express” lane option can be obtained by visiting the Corredor Sur offices located near ElMec on Via Israel in the San Francisco neighborhood of Panama City.