TRB denies ordering closure of Skyway Stage 3

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2021   •   641

MANILA, Philippines – The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) on Tuesday clarified that it did not issue a directive on the indefinite closure of the Skyway Stage 3.

“This is to inform the public that the Toll Regulatory Board did not issue a decision or directive ordering the indefinite closure of the Skyway starting 5 p.m. of March 16,” the TRB said in a statement.

Posted by Toll Regulatory Board on Monday, March 15, 2021

San Miguel Corp. earlier announced that the 18-kilometer elevated expressway will be closed starting March 16 in compliance with the TRB directive until all ramps are completed.

“The position of the TRB and its management is to keep Skyway Stage 3 open for the benefit of the motorists,” the TRB said.

“The TRB is composed of the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, and a representative from the private sector,” it added.

Skyway Stage 3, built and funded by the SMC, officially opened last January 14.

The elevated expressway connects the South Luzon Expressway and NLEX and will serve as an alternative to EDSA with its access points that traverse Makati, Manila, San Juan, and Quezon City.

SMC to start collecting toll for Skyway 3 on July 12

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corporation (SMC) on Tuesday announced that it will start collecting toll for the Skyway Stage 3 on July 12, nearly seven months after it allowed the public free use of the 18-kilometer elevated expressway.

In an advisory, SMC said it will use a revised toll matrix that is “lower than the original proposed toll fees, particularly for motorists traveling shorter distances.”

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the revised toll matrix, as approved by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), takes into consideration the pandemic, its impact on the economy, and on Filipinos.

The final toll rates will be announced prior to the start of toll collection.

SMC said the toll collection is in compliance with the issuance of a Toll Operating Permit and a Notice to Start Collecting Toll by the TRB on Skyway Stage 3.

“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,” Ang said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Ang said collected fees will enable the company 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.

Prior to the soft-opening of Skyway 3 at the end of December last year, SMC had opened to the public the Buendia to Plaza Dilao section of the elevated expressway in July 2019.

Since its opening, the Skyway Stage 3 has allowed motorists to 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.

The Skyway Stage 3 project was constructed with no cost to the government. SMC said it had spent over P80 billion or more than double its original cost to complete the project over a period that spans two administrations.

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

Toll Regulatory Board approves provisional rates for Skyway 3

Robie de Guzman   •   March 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The provisional toll rates for the Skyway Stage 3 have been approved, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) on Friday said.

For class 1 vehicles, the provisional toll rates would be:

  • Buendia to Sta. Mesa ₱105.00
  • Sta Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay ₱30.00
  • Ramon Magsaysay to NLEX Balintawak ₱129.00
  • Buendia to NLEX Balintawak ₱264.00

Class 1 vehicles include cars, jeepneys, vans, and pick-ups.

For Class 2 vehicles or buses, trucks, and cars with trailers, toll rates are doubled.

While vehicles under Class 3 or large trucks will have to pay rates thrice the price of Class 1.

The TRB said the provisional toll fee matrix will be published once a week for three consecutive weeks and a bond will be required to be posted by the Petitioner.

“Please note, however, that the approval of provisional toll rates does not automatically mean that the proponent may immediately be given the authority to start collecting toll fees,” the board said.

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is the private proponent of the Skyway project and is the parent company of CITRA Central Expressway Corporation.

The TRB said that before SMC could collect toll charges, the Skyway Stage 3 has to be at least 95% complete, the project should be able to operate safely and commercially, and that the expressway must be equipped with a toll collection system.

“Upon compliance with the above-stated requirements, the publication of the toll fee matrix, and posting of the required bond, a TOP (Toll Operating Permit) may be issued together with the Notice to Start Collection,” the board said.

SMC confirms Skyway 3 to remain open; ramps at 97% completion

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has confirmed that the Skyway Stage 3 will remain open to motorists amid misunderstanding with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said he has relayed this commitment to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.

In a statement, the SMC said the misunderstanding started when the TRB insisted that Skyway 3 cannot start full operations and collect toll until all ramps are 100% complete.

Ang reiterated that their supplemental toll operation agreement with the TRB states that the SMC can begin collecting at 95% completion of construction.

Ang reported that the ramps are at 97% completion. He also reiterated the need for collection for maintenance and to speed up the completion of the ramps.

“We need sufficient funds for the toll road’s daily maintenance, proper long-term upkeep and to keep it safe and efficient for the motoring public. As Skyway 3’s losses have been mounting because TRB keeps delaying the start of toll collection, the quickest way for our infrastructure unit to speed up 100% completion of the ramps would have been to close Skyway 3,” Ang said.

The SMC previously announced that the 18-kilometer elevated expressway will be closed beginning Tuesday (March 16) in compliance with the TRB directive that all ramps should be completed. However, the TRB clarified it did not issue a directive on the indefinite closure of Skyway Stage 3.

Ang also noted the concessions they have to make in the interest of the public.

“Skyway 3 is new, but heavy everyday use causes it to deteriorate if not maintained properly. We spend a lot for its upkeep, and at the same time lose a lot in foregone revenues. We cannot operate this and serve people if the project is not generating revenues,” he added.

The SMC had also revised the originally proposed fare matrix to significantly lower toll rates, to ensure that motorists will not bear the heavy burden of high toll fees, especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Basically, we have done everything to make sure we can viably operate Skyway 3 right away, so we can serve motorists and fulfill our goal, which is to lessen traffic in Metro Manila and hopefully, through better connectivity, create more jobs and economic opportunities for more Filipinos,” Ang added. -AAC

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