Skyway 3 to remain toll-free for medical frontliners – SMC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2021   •   657

MANILA, Philippines Access to Skyway 3 will remain free for medical frontliners even if the toll collection from motorists will begin on Feb. 2, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced on Thursday.

The SMC said that some 10,400 medical workers at the frontlines of the continuing battle against COVID-19 will be allowed to use the Skyway 3 for free “indefinitely.”

The company added that it would also continue its toll-free program for medical frontliners on all its expressways, including:

  • Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR)
  • South Luzon Expressway (SLEX)
  • Skyway system
  • NAIA Expressway (NAIAX)
  • Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX)

The SMC started the program when the pandemic hit the country in March last year.

SMC President Ramon Ang said that as of January 18, 2021, the company has waived a total of P156 million in toll fees for doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, and other medical workers fighting the pandemic.

“This time of pandemic, we need to help our country, our fellow Filipinos, and each other, as much as we can. We have been providing this courtesy to our medical practitioners non-stop, because it’s our way of honoring them and thanking them for their selfless efforts to save lives and to help us survive this crisis,” Ang said in a statement.

In the first two weeks since it was soft-opened, Skyway 3 recorded an average of 71,000 vehicles per day.

Fully operational, Skyway 3 can easily accommodate 200,000 vehicles or half of daily EDSA traffic, according to Ang.

SMC confirms Skyway 3 to remain open; ramps at 97% completion

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has confirmed that the Skyway Stage 3 will remain open to motorists amid misunderstanding with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said he has relayed this commitment to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.

In a statement, the SMC said the misunderstanding started when the TRB insisted that Skyway 3 cannot start full operations and collect toll until all ramps are 100% complete.

Ang reiterated that their supplemental toll operation agreement with the TRB states that the SMC can begin collecting at 95% completion of construction.

Ang reported that the ramps are at 97% completion. He also reiterated the need for collection for maintenance and to speed up the completion of the ramps.

“We need sufficient funds for the toll road’s daily maintenance, proper long-term upkeep and to keep it safe and efficient for the motoring public. As Skyway 3’s losses have been mounting because TRB keeps delaying the start of toll collection, the quickest way for our infrastructure unit to speed up 100% completion of the ramps would have been to close Skyway 3,” Ang said.

The SMC previously announced that the 18-kilometer elevated expressway will be closed beginning Tuesday (March 16) in compliance with the TRB directive that all ramps should be completed. However, the TRB clarified it did not issue a directive on the indefinite closure of Skyway Stage 3.

Ang also noted the concessions they have to make in the interest of the public.

“Skyway 3 is new, but heavy everyday use causes it to deteriorate if not maintained properly. We spend a lot for its upkeep, and at the same time lose a lot in foregone revenues. We cannot operate this and serve people if the project is not generating revenues,” he added.

The SMC had also revised the originally proposed fare matrix to significantly lower toll rates, to ensure that motorists will not bear the heavy burden of high toll fees, especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Basically, we have done everything to make sure we can viably operate Skyway 3 right away, so we can serve motorists and fulfill our goal, which is to lessen traffic in Metro Manila and hopefully, through better connectivity, create more jobs and economic opportunities for more Filipinos,” Ang added. -AAC

TRB denies ordering closure of Skyway Stage 3

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) on Tuesday clarified that it did not issue a directive on the indefinite closure of the Skyway Stage 3.

“This is to inform the public that the Toll Regulatory Board did not issue a decision or directive ordering the indefinite closure of the Skyway starting 5 p.m. of March 16,” the TRB said in a statement.

Posted by Toll Regulatory Board on Monday, March 15, 2021

San Miguel Corp. earlier announced that the 18-kilometer elevated expressway will be closed starting March 16 in compliance with the TRB directive until all ramps are completed.

“The position of the TRB and its management is to keep Skyway Stage 3 open for the benefit of the motorists,” the TRB said.

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

Skyway Stage 3, built and funded by the SMC, officially opened last January 14.

The elevated expressway connects the South Luzon Expressway and NLEX and will serve as an alternative to EDSA with its access points that traverse Makati, Manila, San Juan, and Quezon City.

MRT-7 project opening eyed in 2022 – SMC

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is looking to open the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) in December 2022, the company’s president, Ramon S. Ang said as he reported about the project’s progress on Friday.

Ang said the construction of the project is at about 54 percent complete, with significant advances in its electrical and mechanical works. the Elevation requirements and tunnel lengths of the rail are also finished.

“I’m excited to share with you the progress we have made on our MRT-7 project. Despite its many challenges, we are now halfway done with construction and are expecting delivery of the first batch of trains from South Korea Hyundai Rotem,” he said in a Facebook post.

“We are looking to open this vital rail network in less than two years,” he added.

I’m excited to share with you the progress we have made on our MRT-7 project. Despite its many challenges, we are now…

Posted by Ramon S. Ang on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ang said they are expecting to complete major milestones of the project this year, including the construction of MRT-7 stations, as well as the arrival and the testing of the first batch of trains.

Once completed, the project will connect MRT-3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) and can ferry passengers from Quezon City to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

“Together with Skyway 3 and our other ongoing and planned infrastructure projects, MRT-7 will further improve urban mobility by linking 14 stations from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to MRT-3 and LRT-1,” he said.

The project is envisioned to improve road traffic situation and spur economic growth in Bulacan.

“By providing a seamless public transport system, we will significantly ease road traffic congestion, reduce commute times, and improve quality of life,” Ang said.

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