A party-list lawmaker on Friday appealed to the Toll Regulatory Board to cut the proposed toll fees for the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 linking North Luzon Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor said he finds the proposed rates “too excessive for this road link from Buendia Avenue in Makati to the Balintawak area before a traveler enters NLEX.”
He said the operator’s proposed end-to-end or Buendia-Balintawak fee is P274, or an average of P15.22 per kilometer.
“However, the shorter Buendia-Quezon Ave or Quezon Avenue-Buendia stretch will cost the same. This means that a Quezon City resident who wants to avoid Edsa traffic in going to Makati will have to pay P274 one way or P548 roundtrip using Skyway-3,” he said.
Defensor added that only the rich would be able to afford P548 per trip from Quezon City to Makati and back.
Skyway-3 is an elevated expressway that links NLEX, SLEX and the toll road network around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
These four road systems have their own separate sets of toll fees.
While the proposed end-to-end toll in Skyway-3 is P274, shorter distances would cost P110 or P133. These fees are only for class 1 (cars, pick-ups) vehicles. The TRB is now in the process of studying the rates the operator is seeking.
“These already excessive rates are just for cars. Imagine the cost for trucks ferrying goods like rice and vegetables, or raw materials. It could be P1,000 or more. And since tolls can be pass-on charges, the result would be higher consumer prices,” Defensor said.
He said a P274-fee would discourage travelers from Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela and other areas in the north to patronize Skyway-3, though he admitted that the Quezon Avenue-Buendia trip takes 30-40 minutes only.
“Employees living in northern Metro Manila but working in Makati definitely will not be able to afford such a steep fee. The minimum wage is not even enough for the roundtrip cost,” he said.
He pointed out that people accompanying their relatives who are taking their flights at NAIA or who are fetching arriving family members at the airport will have to pay toll fees at Skyway-3 and the airport expressway.
“I think they will just opt to leave home early and bear with hopefully less congestion on Edsa or the roads below Skyway-3 to reach their destinations,” he added.
Defensor urged the TRB to considerably reduce the proposed rates to encourage motorists to use Skyway-3.
“It is also in the interest of the operator if more people patronize the NLEX-SLEX-NAIA road link,” he said.
In NLEX, he said, the same P274 fee will take a motorist from the Balintawak or Mindanao Avenue entry point to the Mexico exit in Pampanga, a distance of about 62 kilometers.
The operator expects about 200,000 vehicles to use Skyway-3 every day.