UPDATE: San Miguel's Ramon Ang just countermanded the closure of the Skyway Stage 3 that was announced last night.
Yes, the free toll party is about to come to a close for Skyway Stage 3 users.
In a tweet, Skyway SOMCO (Skyway Operations and Management Corporation) has announced that Stage 3 will be closed starting tomorrow, March 16 at 5:00PM. SOMCO says the closure is a result of a Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) directive.
The closure, unlike the previously announced regular closures from 10:00PM to 5:00AM everyday, will be indefinite. SOMCO stated in the post that Stage 3 will only reopen once all ramps are complete.
We haven't acquired a copy of any directive from the TRB yet, nor have they published anything on their website regarding the matter.
It is unclear whether the move to shut down Skyway 3 is related in any way to any attempt to curb the rising spread of COVID-19 such as the re-implementation of a curfew in the NCR. It is logical, however, that the move could be for SMC to be able to finish the elevated toll road more quickly. The 10:00PM to 5:00AM closures are meant to give SMC time to perform construction work on the road.
Skyway Stage 3 (or just Skyway 3) is one of the most significant contributors to the easing of traffic in Metro Manila in the last few months since it was opened by San Miguel Corporation in late December on a “soft opening” basis. The elevated road offers motorists the option to get from Buendia in Makati to Quezon Avenue or Balintawak in Quezon City in as little as 12 to 15 minutes, respectively.
Since its soft opening, San Miguel has made the tollway free-to-use for motorists for a month after the opening but that has since been extended. The TRB will only grant SMC permission to charge motorists once all the ramps have been built and the tollway's full alignment completion has surpassed the 95% mark.
That means that based on SOMCO's post, when Skyway 3 is reopened on the condition that all ramps are open, they will likely already have the necessary approval from the TRB to charge motorists.
The last time we checked, SMC's proposal for Skyway 3 toll fees has a maximum toll of PHP 274 for a Buendia to Balintawak drive. So it is likely that the next time we get to hop on Skyway 3 after March 16, it will be on a toll basis.