Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) member on Sunday said toll fee on South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) that Metro Manila-bound vehicles pay must be cut by a minimum of P44 for kilometers-long traffic jam that Skyway extension project causes.
Private sector representative on the five-member board Raymundo Junia said he will propose the toll cut in their TRB meeting on Tuesday.
According to him, the reduction was based on the average toll which covers the SLEX northbound stretch starting from Susana Heights exiting to Sucat and Muntinlupa, the most affected area by the traffic gridlock.
On September 24, one-way traffic in SLEX was implemented for the speedy extension of Metro Manila’s elevated highway.
“For me, that discount is fair for both the consumers, composed of the motorists and commuters, and the toll concessionaire, which is San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Tollways,” said Junia.
However, he said it is still up to TRB members, including Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, if they will agree to it or not.
Meanwhile, P49 is charged to trucks, buses, private cars and other vehicles using SLEX northbound lane from Susana Heights to Sucat. Ten percent of this amount, Junia said, would not be included in the reduction because it is intended for the maintenance and operations of the 40-km toll road from Magallanes in Makati City to Calamba, Laguna.
Motorists support the proposed cut
“The TRB and the toll operator should consider the economic loss that commuters and vehicle owners have suffered because of the monstrous traffic jam on SLEx,” said Atty. Roentgen Rabe, who travels through SLEX two times a week from his house in Lucban, Quezon to his workplace in Quezon City.
In addition, sales and marketing supervisor Coke Gonzales said the toll cut in SLEX would be a great help to her and to the people coming from the southern area of Metro Manila and Laguna who spend a lot on SLEX toll fee.
“The discount would be enough to cover a liter of my diesel, which I burn while stuck in traffic on SLEx,” Gonzales said.
SMC president Ramon Ang refused to lower the amount of toll fee and even the temporary suspension of collection on SLEx’s northbound area
However, Ang expressed his apology for the inconvenience caused by the Skyway extension, assuring that the traffic in SLEX will ease in December.
Junia, on the other hand, said, his proposal for the reduction was not to impair SMC Tollways, but to protect the public interest.