It seems that living in the south would become a bit costlier these days.
Effective today, April 26, 2011, motorists passing through the South Metro Manila Skyway Project (or simply Skyway) would have to shell out more money for usage of the said toll road. The Skyway system, which spans the length of Buendia in Makati City to Alabang in Muntinlupa City, consists of both the elevated portion and the at-grade highway. Just recently, Citra, the private entity who runs and maintain the expressway, just completed the Stage 2 of the project which involves the extension of the elevated highway from Bicutan all the way to Alabang. Rehabilitation works on the whole stretch of the at-grade section and the original part of the elevated road were also completed, which involved asphalting and installation of new lights and other safety mechanisms.
Thus in order to recoup Citra’s investments, the Toll Regulatory Board approved a new set of toll rates that will be collected from the road users. I made the following table in order to provide comparison between the old and new rates.
For people like me who lives in the south, yet goes to school or work somewhere in the north, paying for road usage is a normal occurrence. Perhaps toll could even be considered as a way of life for us. Some may find the new toll rates, especially for the elevated Skyway, to be too high, but it seems reasonable. I was able to use the new road from Makati all the way to Alabang (back when the new toll rates were not yet implemented) and it took me just ten minutes. Simply astonishing! The money that was lost from me for paying toll translated into savings not just in fuel consumption, but also in time.
It is also noticeable that the difference between the toll of the elevated section from the toll of the at-grades section is not that huge. This may give a motorist more reason to use the elevated road. It is safe to assume that the extra toll paid for this will again go to gas and time savings. Travelling on the elevated portion is now seamless and it does not require you to stop or slow down compared before when the (temporary) toll plaza is located at the middle of the expressway. Now, toll booths are located at the respective exits, thus eliminating the problem of unnecessary congestion seen before. Also, paying for that little extra while using the elevated section is worth it since one will evade the hassle of slowdowns and dealing with truck and bus drivers which use the ground-level road.
What appears below is the complete toll matrix of the entire South Luzon Expressway, which includes the Skyway and the Alabang-Calamba Highway (which also had a toll hike earlier this year). Image below is taken from the Skyway website.
Despite the extra costs, the completion of the Skyway is a boon for South people like me. Nevertheless, I still yearn for the time when the Philippine government would have enough money to fund infrastructure and citizens would no longer have to pay for road usage. Aaahh, wishful thinking.