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After providing the public free use of its 18-km Skyway Stage 3 project for nearly seven months, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) will start collecting tolls on the new elevated expressway starting July 12.

A revised toll fee matrix that is lower than the original proposed toll fees, particularly for motorists traveling shorter distances, should be expected, announced the company. “We thank the TRB for helping us determine the most equitable toll rates for our motorists. We know from experience that times are hard for many, and even a little relief for motorists can go a long way. These toll rates reflect our deferral of the collection of a substantial amount of the cost to build Skyway 3. We also further lowered the rates for those traveling shorter distances,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

The company, through its SMC Infrastructure, will post the final approved toll rates at the toll plazas prior to the start of toll collection.

Ang added the tolls it will collect will provide the company revenues to ensure continued efficient operations, maintenance, and safe driving conditions on the elevated expressway—particularly as daily traffic puts a heavy strain on the road infrastructure, necessitating significant maintenance costs.

Since its opening, the Skyway Stage 3 has also allowed motorists to fully experience seamless connection from South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and vice versa.

It has reduced travel time from Alabang to Balintawak and vice versa, to only 30 minutes from the previous three hours, and from Buendia to Balintawak, to only 20 minutes—saving motorists not only precious time but also fuel and maintenance costs.

With a capacity of 200,000 vehicles per day, it has also significantly decongested traffic on major Metro Manila thoroughfares, including Edsa and C-5. The Department of Public Works and Highways has estimated that it currently diverts at least 75,000 vehicles daily from EDSA and C-5.

With the start of toll collection, government can now also start generating significant income from the expressway, as it imposes a 12 percent VAT on all toll fees.

SMC, which fully-funded the construction of the project with no government funds or guarantees, had spent over P80 billion—more than double its original cost—to complete the project over a period that spans two administrations.

Much of the delays and additional costs were due to numerous contentious right-of-way issues that caused major redesigns and realignments. SMC also shouldered the cost of reconstructing three Metro Manila bridges. “We aggressively pursued the completion of Skyway 3 despite all of the obstacles, including right-of-way issues, because our people need a long-term solution to traffic. We believe it can also help boost our economy over the long term as it provides, finally, a seamless connection between North and South Luzon. With the same dedication, we will pursue other major road and mass transport projects to benefit our countrymen,” Ang said.

As of July 2, Skyway on-and off-ramps that have been opened to the public are: Buendia SB Exit and NB Entry, Quirino NB and SB Exit, Plaza Dilao SB Entry, Nagtahan SB and NB Exit, E. Rodriguez SB Exit, Quezon Ave SB Exit and Entry, Quezon Ave NB Exit and Entry, A. Bonifacio NB Exit, NLEX NB Exit and NLEX SB Entry.

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