TRB set to decide on SLEx toll discount
MANILA, Philippines – The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) is set to issue a decision next month on the toll discount for motorists affected by heavy traffic on the northbound lanes of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) in Metro Manila.
Raymundo Junia, TRB private sector representative, on Thursday said the board’s technical working group (TWG) had narrowed the parameters for the discount on the toll fees charged by SLEx and Skyway operator San Miguel Corp (SMC).
Junia, who also chairs the TWG, said the next toll board meeting will happen in the first week of November.
“If the board decides on November [the discount] could be implemented by December since there is still due process,” he said.
Junia said a discount will “most likely” win the approval of the board.
He said the challenge for the TRB is determining the true economic cost to motorists caught in heavy traffic at the SLEx due to the P10 billion Skyway extension project.
SMC is building a new elevated roadway that will run parallel on both sides of SLEx connecting Sucat and Susana Heights to let motorists bypass the congestion-prone Alabang Viaduct and Interchange.
Because of the Skyway extension, the outermost northbound lane of the SLEx at-grade level just after the Alabang viaduct was closed, triggering a daily gridlock since September 24.
“The tollroad is in the business of selling services to the motorists. They are selling convenience, safety and economic costs— that includes time, maintenance of the car, gasoline and even health,” Junia said.
“How much is the economic loss to the motorists from closing that lane? That’s what we are trying to determine,” Junia said.
He said major parameters, which will be endorsed to the toll board, have been defined.
The TWG decided that the toll reduction will only apply to the SLEx sections from Sucat to Susana Heights.
The discount will cover the period during the closure of the affected lane.
Junia said if SMC opens the lane on Dec. 1 this year— as previously announced— the toll reduction period will run for at least two months from the time it is implemented.
SMC president Ramon S. Ang previously apologized to SLEx users for the traffic inconvenience while pointing out the extension project will unclog the Alabang area “once and for all.”
SMC is one of the country’s largest conglomerates with interests in food, drinks, energy, and infrastructure. Apart from SLEx and Skyway, it also operates the Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway, the Naia Expressway and Star Tollway. /gsg
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.