Skyway Stage 3 adjustments related to toll collection snags

Were you among the many motorists who got stuck in traffic along the Skyway as a result of snags related to toll collection payments (formally started on July 12, 2021), lack of load for payments and lack of radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers on the vehicles?

Well, you definitely are not alone and the Skyway system operator issued a press statement very recently and they will work harder to make things more convenient for those traveling along Skyway Stage 3. To put things in perspective, posted below is the statement published through the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

Skyway O&M, operator of the Skyway system and a unit under San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) SMC Infrastructure, expects more seamless movement along the new Skyway Stage 3 with the implementation of new measures to avoid congestion on access and exit points following the first day of toll collection on the elevated expressway.

These measures resulted in faster throughput of vehicles even at high-volume toll plazas just a day later.

“It’s unfortunate that many motorists were caught in traffic last Monday. We apologize for the inconvenience. While this was not totally unexpected on the first day of toll collection, for our part, we know we have to do better. Hopefully, with the measures we put in place, traffic conditions will continue to improve and normalize,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said that traffic throughput at toll plazas slowed down Monday primarily due to vehicles with insufficient load, as well as those availing of free radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker installation and re-loading onsite.

“Our Skyway teams are always on the ground, and we monitor our expressways via cameras 24/7. If there’s any issue, we can respond and make corrective measures very quickly,” he added.

Among the measures Skyway has since implemented are: deployment of more personnel for traffic management, toll collection, and Autosweep RFID sticker installation; opening of more lanes for Autosweep RFID installation and reloading; and installation of more signs to guide motorists who are unfamiliar with the expressway, its toll plazas, and the start of toll collection.

Motorists with no RFID stickers, who insist on paying in cash, or have insufficient balance are asked to exit the toll booth and park on the side so as not to inconvenience existing ETC users. They are given the option to have RFID tags installed or reloaded, or pay in cash.

Vehicles with no RFID or have insufficient balance are directed to Del Monte Toll Plaza B coming from Balintawak where they can have their RFID tags installed or reloaded.

Skyway O&M reported that traffic throughput at toll plazas was significantly better starting Tuesday, or the second day of toll collection.

For instance, traffic queues at the Buendia southbound exit, which only has two lanes and where there was significant buildup Monday, was considerably shorter at only up to 200 meters. This was observed only during rush hour starting at 8 am.

While the vast majority of motorists utilized electronic toll collection, a small percentage, or 4 percent, consisting of cash-paying motorists and users with insufficient load, slowed down transaction times at toll plazas.

The additional measures implemented have since addressed these issues, bringing about a smoother traffic flow.

Skyway 3 was soft-opened last December and has provided the public free unlimited use for nearly seven months, with SMC’s foregone revenues reaching PHP3 billion.

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) had just recently issued a notice to start collecting toll to Skyway 3.

“Before, if you were stuck on NLEX or Quezon City and you were headed to Alabang or Makati, or vice-versa, motorists simply had no choice but to endure two to three hours of traffic. Today, with Skyway Stage 3, motorists can opt to use it for convenience and faster travel times. With more vehicles diverted to Skyway 3, there will be less congestion on Edsa, C-5, and other major thoroughfares, resulting in improved travel on our public roads,” Ang said.

SMC and TRB worked together to arrive at toll rates that are much lower than the original toll fee matrix, particularly for vehicles traveling shorter distances.

Apart from foregoing revenues for seven months, SMC had also deferred recovery of a significant portion of the right-of-way costs for the project in consideration of the economic impacts of the pandemic.

With Skyway Stage 3 now operating 24/7, SMC said that Autosweep sites along the elevated expressway are also open 24/7.

“I would like to request our motorists who have not yet availed of their free RFID stickers to please do so, and make sure they are activated with sufficient credit. This measure, which was pushed by (the) government last year, is for everybody’s safety and also for your convenience,” Ang said.

He said using RFID will ensure they have better, safer, and faster trips on the expressways.

“Also, as a reminder, please be conscious of which toll lanes you are using. Do not use ETC- only lanes if you have insufficient balance, as there are penalties that come with this. If you have insufficient balance, please use the assigned lanes for RFID installation or reloading. Most of all, please always show courtesy towards fellow motorists and tollways workers,” he added.

Site locations that offer RFID installation and reloading are from the south, Zobel northbound (After Entry), Quirino northbound exit, Nagtahan northbound exit, Quezon Ave. northbound entry, and Del Monte northbound toll plaza; and from the north, Del Monte southbound toll plaza, Quezon Ave. southbound entry and Plaza Dilao southbound entry.

And here are related news videos from rival networks GMA and ABS-CBN…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you satisfied with what the Skyway operator stated and the adjustments they made? When it comes to traveling from south of Metro Manila to the north, are you willing to endure the heavy traffic along EDSA just to save money now that toll collections are in effect on Skyway Stage 3? What was it like to drive from South Metro Manila all the way to the NLEX via Skyway Stage 3 during toll collection?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Skyway Stage 3 toll collection to start July 12, 2021

For those of you who constantly drive going north or south through Skyway Stage 3, better brace yourselves as the collection of tolls from motorists will formally begin on July 12, 2021. That is this coming Monday already. Take note that it has been seven months since the use of Skyway Stage 3 was kept free for motorists.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

After nearly seven months of providing the public free use of the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) on Tuesday announced it will start collecting toll on the elevated expressway starting July.

In a statement, SMC said it will be using a revised toll matrix which is lower than the original proposed toll fees.

To recall, the Toll Regulatory Board approved last March the provisional toll rates for the Skyway 3.

The approved provisional toll rates are the following:

For Class 1 vehicles

Buendia to Sta. Mesa – P105.00

Sta. Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay – P30.00

Ramon Magsaysay to NLEX Balintawak – P129.00

Buendia to NLEX Balintawak – P264.00

For Class 2 vehicles, the toll rates are twice as much as the rates for Class 1 vehicles.

For Class 3, the rates are thrice the price of Class 1.

The approved provisional toll rates are lower than San Miguel’s petition ranging from P110 to P274.

SMC said the TRB issued a Toll Operating Permit and a Notice to Start Collecting Toll on Skyway 3.

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

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

“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,” Ang said.

He said 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.

Skyway 3 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.

With a capacity of 200,000 vehicles per day, the elevated toll road has also significantly decongested traffic on major Metro Manila thoroughfares, including Edsa and C-5.

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

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

And here is a related video news report also by GMA Network…

As seen in the above report, clearly it is high time for motorists to pay San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for using Skyway Stage 3 which itself is a magnificent piece of infrastructure (made possible by capitalists, not socialists) that will benefit generations of Filipinos who need to travel north, south and within key parts of Metro Manila. Skyway Stage 3 is a major factor in the decongestion of traffic along EDSA, C-5 and other major metropolitan roads. By the way, what motorists will pay starting Monday, a portion of that will go to the national government in the form of value-added tax (VAT).  

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you prepared to pay the toll rates for Skyway Stage 3 starting July 12? How many times a week do you travel along Skyway Stage 3? Are the toll rates approved fair to you?

If you are a daily traveler on Skyway Stage 3, how was your travel time between destinations?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Skyway Stage 3 Quirino southbound exit now open to motorists

Hey readers! Have you been driving along Skyway Stage 3 lately? In case you missed the news, the southbound Quirino exit of Skyway Stage 3 was officially opened this past Monday. To be specific, it allows motorists from Balintawak and Quezon Avenue to travel to Manila much faster and safer than before.

In a May 24, 2021 Facebook page post, San Miguel Corporation president Ramon S. Ang wrote: Together with the DPWH, we opened today the Quirino southbound exit of Skyway Stage 3. This will cut travel time from Balintawak and Quezon Ave. to Manila to less than 20 mins from the usual 1.5 hours. In the midst of the pandemic, we remain committed to delivering sustainable infrastructure that will ensure better lives for the present and future generations. This is the world we want.

The Quirino exit on the southbound lane of Skyway Stage 3 formally opened. (source – Ramon S. Ang Facebook page)

To put things in perspective some more, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article about the same subject matter. Some parts in boldface…

San Miguel Corporation (SMC), through SMC Infrastructure, opened Monday the southbound Quirino exit of the Skyway Stage 3 elevated expressway to Class-1 vehicles, allowing motorists coming from Balintawak and Quezon Avenue to directly reach Manila within less than 20 minutes from 1.5 hours without traffic.

The opening was led by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar and SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

“The full completion of Skyway Stage 3 will divert at least 75,000 vehicles away from EDSA or C5. This is a realization of President Duterte’s promise to decongest EDSA. Skyway Stage 3 is proof that the private sector and the government can work together towards a unified solution,” Villar said.

Ang said the opening of the Quirino southbound exit will greatly improve accessibility from Quezon City and Manila.

“With more private vehicles diverted to Skyway Stage 3 on their way back from NLEX (North Luzon Expressway), or coming from Quezon Avenue, to Manila, traffic on our major public roads as well as on streets usually utilized as ‘shortcuts’ or ‘alternate routes’, will be a thing of the past. This will redound to relief from congestion and faster and easier commutes for many of our countrymen on our major thoroughfares. We thank President Duterte and the government team led by Secretary Villar for all their support,” he said.

And said SMC will continue to deliver on its commitment to bring motorists quality infrastructure that addresses congestion and lack of accessibility.

“We remain dedicated to providing convenient and seamless travel for motorists to help decongest Metro Manila and enable growth in all areas that we reach,” he added.

SMC, which fully-funded and built 100 percent of the Skyway Stage 3, said the expressway now has 15 operational ramps.

These include Northbound entry/on-ramps — Buendia (Zobel) and Quezon Avenue; Southbound entry/on ramps –Balintawak, Quezon Avenue and Plaza Dilao; Northbound exit/off ramps –Quirino Avenue, Nagtahan, Quezon Avenue, A. Bonifacio, and Balintawak; and Southbound exit/off ramps –Quezon Avenue, E. Rodriguez, Nagtahan, Quirino and Buendia (Zobel).

Now here is a related news video for your viewing pleasure and learning…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you traveled along Skyway Stage 3 and exited through Quirino already? If you did, what was the experience like? How fast did it take you to travel from Balintawak or Quezon Avenue to exit through Quirino? Is the southbound travel along Skyway Stage 3 even better now that the Quirino exit is open?

To all motorists based in Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque, how often did you travel along Skyway Stage 3 this year?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

SMC President Ramon S. Ang clarifies Skyway Stage 3 remains open to motorists

Are you a motorist who needs to go way north, or way south or somewhere in between in the heart of Metro Manila? Here are some good news for you all: Skyway Stage 3 remains open to motorists as confirmed by San Miguel Corporation President Ramon S. Ang.

Very recently, there was confusion when it was announced that Stage 3 of the elevated expressway would close down on March 16, 2021 starting 5PM. Below is the excerpt from the GMA News report…

“In accordance with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) directive, the Skyway Stage 3 will be closed indefinitely starting 16 March 2021 at 5PM,” the Skyway Stage 3 management said in a post on Twitter on Monday night.

The elevated expressway will be reopened once all ramps are completed, as ordered by TRB, it said.

“Apologies for the inconvenience. SMC Infrastructure has no choice but to comply,” management said.

However, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued an advisory on Tuesday saying the TRB has not issued a decision or directive ordering the closure indefinitely of Skyway Stage 3.

“This is to inform the public that the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) DID NOT ISSUE a decision or directive ordering the indefinite closure of the Skyway Stage 3 starting 5 p.m. of 16 March 2021,” the DOTr said.

“The Toll Regulatory Board DID NOT ISSUE a decision or directive ordering the indefinite closure of the Skyway Stage 3,” it added.

“TRB’s position is to keep Skyway Stage 3 OPEN for the benefit of motorists,” the DOTr added.

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

“Yes, I have just talk[ed] to [Transportation] Sec. [Arthur] Tugade. He will take care of TRB (Toll Regulatory Board),” Ang told GMA News Online.

As you can see above, things got really confusing and it was a major relief that Ramon Ang clarified that Skyway Stage 3 would not be closed. To put things in perspective, the 18-kilometer long Skyway Stage 3 was fully opened toll-free to motorists this past January and the TRB has yet to approve the proposed toll rates for it.

Now that the issue has been resolved, keep using Skyway Stage 3 for as long as you need it to move around. Please share this article to fellow motorists and other Skyway travelers you personally know. Thanks.

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For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

New Skyway Ramp to Open on December 1

Hi everyone! Have you been struggling with the constant heavy traffic along the northbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) since September due to the construction of a Skyway extension project (planned to reach Susana Heights) within the Alabang viaduct area?

Well here are the good news: effective December 1, 2019, the third lane of the at-grade level of the Skyway will be re-opened and the brand new, two-lane ramp connecting the Alabang viaduct to the elevated Skyway will be opened to the public!

The anticipated developments should result an improvement of the flow of traffic going north.

“These enhancements will ensure that there will be five lanes available to northbound SLEX vehicles during rush hours, even as we go full blast with the construction of the Skyway Extension project. Motorists will be able to use the original three lanes at the at-grade section, plus 2 more lanes at the elevated section,” San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said according to the press release.

Due to the construction of the new ramp started this past September, traffic worsened as road space was reduced. What used to be five lanes on the northbound direction of the SLEX at the Alabang viaduct was narrowed down to three lanes. The City Government of Muntinlupa itself implemented a one-way traffic scheme along the east service road in connection to the construction.

Skyway managers made the hard adjustments by reconfiguring and maximizing the first section of the elevated Skyway coming from the Alabang-Zapote road to three lanes, from the original two.

The operators stated that with the new ramp connecting to the elevated section, northbound traffic from SLEX can be accommodated without significantly impacting traffic coming from the Alabang-Zapote road.

It was pointed out that the original design for the Alabang-Zapote road Skyway ramp, built by the previous concessionaire, is one lane northbound and one lane southbound. At certain times in the morning, when traffic is heaviest, both lanes are used for northbound traffic.

As such, they emphasized that the advantage of the new three-lane configuration at the start of the elevated portion is that lane assignments can be easily adjusted depending on traffic volume. Even with the new ramp in effect, motorists coming from the Alabang-Zapote road will retain the use of one to two lanes, depending on traffic volume.

With regards to night-time southbound traffic, which normally gets heavy, more or all lanes—including the two lanes on the new ramp–can be assigned for southbound use.

To put things in perspective, the Skyway Extension project is an initiative by SMC worth P10 billion designed to extend the Skyway from Alabang to SLEX near  Susana Heights and the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX). Completion of the whole project is set for December 2020. By then , there should be three additional northbound lanes and two southbound lanes on either side of the existing SLEX. It will allow both northbound and southbound motorists to bypass the Alabang viaduct.

This is welcome news and there should be relief starting Sunday (December 1).

In my personal experience, I work at an office in Calamba, Laguna and since September 25, traveling back to Alabang became more challenging due to the increased traffic congestion. Many times, the tail-end of the traffic jam going north along SLEX reached the Susana Heights area. Some times, the tail-end was at the Southwoods exit.

We will soon find out starting Monday how the promised benefits of the new Skyway ramp will improve the northbound flow of vehicles.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Muntinlupa City to Implement New Traffic Scheme No Later than October 13

Since the start of the construction of the Skyway extension project on the evening of September 24, traffic got worse on the northbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). The result? The construction – which resulted eating up road space – made traffic more congested than before. As I drove on the way to the office in Laguna on September 25, I saw many vehicles (heading north) jammed together tightly from the Alabang viaduct up to around twenty kilometers going south in the jurisdiction of Laguna.

And then I later experienced the hardship of being in the traffic jam going back to Alabang that same day. The trip home took an additional one hour and twenty minutes for me.

The next day, it took me more than an hour again to reach Alabang from Laguna going home. Only this time, I took the exit to go to the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), turned to Daang Hari and go to Alabang. On the other side of the SLEX, motorists traveling north took the exit going to the National Road of Muntinlupa. National Road is composed of only four lanes, take note.

As the Skyway operator confirmed that the project construction will last until late 2020, we the motorists have no choice but to accept the new reality that the worsened traffic will be the new normal along the SLEX.

The City Government of Muntinlupa noticed this problem. The construction also affected the East service road’s traffic which caused inconvenience to the businesses and residents who often travel there.

This is why today (September 30), the City Government formally announced the implementation of a one-way traffic scheme at the East service road no later than October 13. The purpose of this new move is to address, and hopefully ease, the heavy traffic motorists are experiencing.

Already a consultation was organized by Traffic Management Bureau chief Danidon Nolasco with representatives from San Miguel Corporation Tollways, EEI, transport groups, and subdivisions and companies situated the East service road.

Nolasco said SMC Tollways anticipate at least 14 weeks to finish the construction of the extension project with the currently imposed stop-and-go traffic scheme. He added that construction period will be reduced by half if a one-way traffic scheme will be enforced.

Motorists are advised that a northbound one-way traffic route will be implemented at the East service road from Alabang viaduct going to Sucat Interchange on or before October 13. While, the West service road and Baybayin will remain two-way in traffic as usual.

The representatives of the business establishments located in the area agreed to the new rerouting plan and requested that the new traffic scheme to be disseminated and implemented immediately.

As for the Skyway extension project along the East service road, EEI Project Manager Joe Ilagan said at least forty-one columns will be erected and the project’s bored piles and columns will be situated in between the service road and expressway. This is why road space is reduced resulting worse traffic on both the service road and the northbound lane of the SLEX.

The elevated toll road extension project from Sucat skyway off-ramp to Soldiers Hills, Muntinlupa is expected to be completed by December 2020.

Until that project is completed and traffic relief is realized, we motorists really have to adjust ourselves and be more patient using the SLEX. Heavy traffic obviously costs the nation’s economy (and us, the people) a lot of money and time. Imagine all the appointments, all the planned flights, all the opportunities get lost because SLEX northbound traffic prevented people from reaching their respective destination.

As the Christmas season approaches, vehicular traffic will get even worse due to the anticipated rise in business transactions related to Christmas-related spending. Take for example, the many commercial joints here in South Metro Manila. People will go out to the shopping malls (in Parañaque, Muntinlupa and Las Piñas), the bazaars and in BF Homes to buy items for gift-giving. Trucks will be going around to deliver food (example: catering), hardware and other ordered products.

Better start getting used to the new normal along SLEX. Plan your moves ahead of time as well.