The Toll Regulatory Board on March 25 approved provisional toll rates for Skyway Stage 3, but concessionaire San Miguel Corp. (SMC) may not yet collect fees until it meets certain requirements
The toll operating permit and the Notice to Start Collection will be issued once SMC complies with the requirements, the toll fee matrix is published and the required bond posted
A joint testing of the installed toll road facilities is set to start on March 29
The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) approved on March 25 the provisional toll rates for Skyway Stage 3, but concessionaire San Miguel Corp. (SMC) may not yet collect the fees until certain requirements are met.
The approved provisional toll rates for Class 1 vehicles are as follows:
- Buendia to Sta. Mesa – P105
- Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay – P30
- Ramon Magsaysay to North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Balintawak – P129
- Buendia to NLEX Balintawak – P264
The toll rates for Class 2 vehicles are twice as much as the rates for Class 1 vehicles, and thrice the rates for Class 3 vehicles.
Class 2 vehicles are buses, trucks and cars with trailers; while Class 3 vehicles are large trucks and large trucks with trailers.
The approval of the provisional toll rates, however, does not automatically mean SMC may start collecting toll rates; an authority to collect or toll operating permit (TOP) will have to be issued first.
And before a TOP can be issued, certain procedures and requirements under the supplemental toll operation agreement (STOA) must first be met, including that the project must be “substantially completed,” TRB said.
Under the STOA, the project must be at least 95% complete. TRB noted that an assessment was submitted by an independent consultant earlier this month stating that the expressway project was already at 97% completion.
“This assessment is now subject to evaluation and validation by the Board,” TRB said.
SMC in an earlier separate statement also said the project was already 97% complete.
Other requirements are that the project should conform to the approved final engineering design and be capable of being operated safely and commercially. The toll road facilities should also be already installed.
TRB noted that the toll collection equipment and system, which are needed to collect tolls, is currently being installed by the Central Metro Manila Skyway Corp.
A joint testing amongst the TRB, SMC, and independent consultant is scheduled to start on March 29 in areas where installation has been completed “to ensure that there are no system glitches or flaws to avoid a repeat of the RFID problems we had in the past.”
TRB said the TOP may be issued together with the Notice to Start Collection once SMC complies with the requirements, the toll fee matrix is published, and the required bond posted.
“Rest assured that it is the position of the Toll Regulatory Board… to always come up with a decision that will be fair to the motorists, to the project proponent, and to the Filipino people,” TRB said.
The board is composed of the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Finance, and National Economic Development Authority.
Skyway Stage 3, built and fully funded by SMC, officially opened last January 15, allowing motorists to bypass EDSA and other busy streets in Metro Manila.
Seamlessly connecting South Luzon Expressway with NLEX, the Skyway—with its eight access points that traverse Makati, Manila, San Juan, and Quezon City—will also serve as an alternative thoroughfare to EDSA.
Last February, SMC opened two new ramps and said more north and south access ramps will be opened.
Prior to the approval of the provisional toll rates, confusion arose when the Skyway management announced that Skyway Stage 3 would be closed starting March 16 and would be reopened when all ramps were completed, in compliance with a TRB directive, a directive later denied by TRB.
However, SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang, in a separate statement, said TRB was insisting that Skyway 3 could not start full operations and collect toll until all ramps were 100% complete, even when the STOA allows operations at 95% completion.
“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 explained.
Ang noted that the cost of Skyway 3 increased significantly because of problems in the acquisition of right-of-way, which led to major redesigns, realignments, and reconstruction that raised costs and extended the construction through two administrations.
To fast track completion, Ang said SMC had to pay for all right-of-way costs, including paying the properties at prevailing market value and shouldering the cost of relocating utilities and reconstructing three bridges.