For the thousands of Metro Manila's motorists, including riders of big bikes, the opening of San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) Skyway Stage 3 was welcome change after all the events of 2020.
While SMC president, Ramon S. Ang, promised that will be toll-free to motorists for the whole of January 2021, come February, they may start charging toll.
We got a peek of what the toll fees could be when entering the newly-constructed elevated road. So far, the prices we have are for Class 1 vehicles only. Still, that will cost cars, vans, pick up, SUVs and 400 cc and up motorcycles a whopping PhP274.00 toll fee for those traveling from Buendia, Makati up to Balintawak, Quezon City, or the start of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
Based on the above toll matrix, if you’re coming from Alabang, Muntinlupa, and are headed to to Quezon Avenue, the total toll fee you’ll be shelling out PhP164.00 (Alabang to Buendia) + PhP274.00 (Buendia to Q. Ave) totaling PhP438.00 one way. This same rate applies if you’re exiting at the one of the soon-to-open Skyway Stage 3 exits like Sgt. Rivera or A. Bonifacio, as well as if you’re going all the way to Balintawak. On the way back to Alabang, it will be the same amount: PhP438.00. If, say, you’re coming from Cavite and will be using the NAIAX, that’s P274.00 + P45.00.
Let's say you want to go on a long ride up north, the total you'll be paying for toll may be surprising. Take Baguio, for example. You will need to take the Skyway from Alabang to Balintawak, then there's Balintawak up to Rosario, La Union which passes through NLEX, SCTEX, and TPLEX.
You'll be spending PhP876.00 to take Skyway from Alabang to Balintawak both ways, then there's an additional PhP1,402.00 total toll fee from Balintawak up to Rosario, La Union and back. That's already PhP2,278 in toll fees alone, if our arithmetic is right.
Adjusted for ROW
Though this toll matrix is still up for Toll Regulatory Board’s approval, SMC explains that the toll fee is also intended to pay for the Skyway Stage 3’s larger than expected construction cost.
Back when Skyway Stage 3 was originally proposed years back, the estimated construction cost was close to P25-billion. Adjusting for inflation, legal fees, and other “miscellaneous” expenses, the construction cost of the Skyway Stage 3 ballooned to over P66-billion by the time it was completed. The biggest factor, they said, was the expenditures associated with right-of-way (ROW) acquisitions, which, from an estimated P1.673-billion ballooned to P4.1-billion by the end of construction.
There's also an agreement between SMC and the TRB that the extra ROW cost can be recovered via future toll rate adjustments.