SLEx TOLL HIKE

 SLEx TOLL HIKE

Motorists plying the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) will have to pay significantly higher toll fees beginning next year after the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) gave the go signal for the increase.

The new rate of P3.02 per kilometer, over 300% more than the current rate of 78 centavos, will be implemented at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2011.

But SLEx operator South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) said it would give consumers discounts between January and March as it plans to implement the toll increase in staggered basis.

Instead of charging the whole P3.02, SLTC said it would only charge P2.68 per kilometer in January. By February, it will increase the rate to P2.80, then P2.90 by March.

This means motorists traveling from Alabang, Muntinlupa City to Calamba, Laguna will have to pay P76 in January from the current P22, and this would go up to P86 when the full rate increase takes effect in April.

For the Calamba to Sto. Tomas, Batangas stretch, motorists will be charged P23 next year.

According to SLTC,, the total discount for the 3 months to March was estimated at P75 million, an amount considered as foregone revenue on their part.

SLTC also announced that they will implement a “toll holiday” for the entire Alabang to Sto. Tomas stretch on Christmas eve (from 10 p.m. December 24 until 6 a.m. December 25) and on New Year’s eve (from 10 p.m. December 31 until 6 a.m. January 1).

SLTC noted that while it volunteered to provide consumers relief in the early months of 2011, it was still in talks with the government for the recovery of P1.1 billion in foregone revenue arising from the delay in the implementation of the new rates from August to December.

The TRB, however, was insisting it would not compensate SLTC for the said lost revenue due to a recent Supreme Court decision.

Higher fares

Because of the impending toll hike at SLEx, the South Luzon Bus Operators’ Association (SOLUBOA) said it has no other choice but to seek a fare hike.

SOLUBOA President Homer Mercado said they will file a petition for a P0.30 per kilometer increase in fares before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

If approved, the regular fare for the first 50 kilometers will increase from P65 to P80. – Reports from Zen Hernandez and Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

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