Starting November 15, trucks will be banned from the elevated sections of the Metro Manila Skyway to improve safety and speed up traffic flow on the elevated toll road and the soon-to-open Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway.
Skyway O&M Corporation (SOMCO), operator of Skyway, said in a statement that overloaded trucks and vehicles modified to carry heavier loads pose risks to motorists, especially on the toll road’s elevated section.
SOMCO noted that two recent major accidents along the Skyway’s elevated section that caused heavy traffic involved the reconfigured delivery trucks of a beverage company.
It said the ban had been discussed with barangay officials, local police, highway patrol units, and mall owners at a recent traffic meeting.
“Together with SOMCO, we agreed to implement tighter restrictions as far as road safety is concerned. The welfare of the motorists and passengers should always be our priority,” Skyway and South Luzon Expressway chief police Senior Inspector Leopoldo Vitug, Jr. said.
Heavy vehicles carrying essential commodities are exempt from the prohibition if they meet certain requirements.
Truckers seeking a dialogue
Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) vice president for External Affairs Pepito Dino told PortCalls in a text message that the group will be asking for a dialogue with SOMCO to clarify what exemptions and requirements need to be presented to qualify for the exemption.
Dino said some truckers use the Skyway since it is faster than travelling via the South Expressway, but noted that just a few do due to high toll fees.
Meanwhile, SOMCO will be requiring the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers for public utility vehicles (PUVs) and trucks to bring about faster toll processing.
It said the long queues of buses, PUVs, UV Express vans, and trucks at toll entry and exit points contribute to the traffic build-up on the elevated and at-grade sections of the Skyway system.
“The RFID toll collection system, a cashless transaction already in place and used by mostly private vehicles, could greatly increase throughput time for trucks and PUVs at toll plazas,” SOMCO said.
The Skyway operator said various stakeholders have agreed to the use of RFIDs since it will help reduce or even eliminate the time drivers consume in collecting cards, preparing and paying toll, and counting change, especially during peak hours.
RFID stickers will be given to motorists free of charge and will only require an initial load of P500 for class 1 vehicles and P1,000 for class 2 vehicles.
According to SOMCO, the daily average number of vehicles using the Skyway system has increased from 180,000 in 2015 to about 200,000 this year.
Other measures proposed to smoothen traffic flow include the removal of illegal passenger jeepney terminals at SM Bicutan, and the transfer of PUV parking areas along the Sucat northbound entry to the Posadas area on the east and west service roads.
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