The Skyway Stage 3 is proving to be the gift from San Miguel and the efforts of the various agencies of government (particularly with right-of-way acquisition) that we need to help alleviate traffic.
The new elevated road serves as another extra link between the southernmost and northernmost points of the National Capital Region, effectively bridging the two major expressways: SLEX and NLEX. Stage 3 also enables motorists to get from Quezon Avenue in Quezon City to Buendia in Makati in less than 15 minutes. Yes, we timed that.
But it's also important to keep in mind that Skyway Stage 3 (or just Skyway 3) is intended to be a toll road, and a premium elevated one at that. It's free up until February 1 thanks to San Miguel Corporation and Ramon S. Ang. After that, they will start charging fees for the use of the Skyway.
So here's the question: How much would it cost to enjoy the benefit of the Skyway 3? What are the toll fees going to be like?
In 2014, the proposed toll rate for Skyway Stage 3 was supposed to be PHP 134 from Buendia to Balintawak, but a petition in December 2014 raised that same toll fee by 10.45% to a proposed PHP 148. That proposed toll fee was still pending final adjustments upon the opening of Skyway 3. And mind you, those fees were still VAT exclusive; the VAT inclusive toll fee would have been PHP 166. In 2017, the expected opening full-length toll fee was raised further to PHP 203 for Class 1 vehicles, VAT inclusive.
Now that it's open, the new proposal will have the toll fee raised to account for a variety of factors. We based the two tables below on the document published by the Toll Regulatory Board.
The table from the proposal didn't actually mention if this was Class 1, but we expect it to be. As you can see, the VAT inclusive toll fees on the Skyway 3 will not be cheap, even when compared to the original PHP 203 they proposed in 2017. If you're only driving the short southern segment of the Skyway 3 (i.e. from Buendia to Quirino/Plaza Dilao/Plaza Azul) the toll fee would already be PHP 110. If you're driving on the northern section of Skyway 3 (i.e. Quezon Ave to NLEX/Balintawak) you're paying a toll fee of PHP 133.
Anything longer than either and you'll be charged the full length, which is proposed to cost PHP 274 for Class 1.
Let's put some math into it. If you're driving a Class 1 vehicle from NLEX or Balintawak and you're picking up a relative from NAIA, you can take Skyway 3 and pay PHP 274, then pay another PHP 45 for the NAIAX. Unless we're mistaken (or if there's another fee that needs to be worked out between Buendia and NAIAX) that would mean a total of PHP 319.
If you're driving a car from Alabang to NLEX (or vice versa), the PHP 168 toll fee from Alabang to Buendia will be added on top of the proposed PHP 274. If our math is right, that means a one-way toll fee of PHP 442. On the way back, the drive should cost about 4 pesos less, bringing the total to PHP 438. Again, we're just estimating for now.
There were many reasons behind SMC's proposal to raise the full alignment toll rate to PHP 274. There was a travel demand forecast (which we're still trying to locate), inflation rate adjustments, legal fees, so on and so forth. But the major factor that affected the toll fee was the total cost of construction and ROW
The original estimated cost of Skyway Stage 3 in 2012 was supposed to be PHP 24.983 billion (without ROW costs). In 2014, that went up to PHP 40.5 billion. Now when all was said and done, the total bill for the construction was PHP 66.1 billion. The project was also supposed to spend a capped PHP 1.673 billion on ROW acquisitions to be able to build the road, but by 2020 that had more than doubled to PHP 4.1 billion. There's also an agreement between SMC and the TRB that the extra ROW cost be recovered via future toll rate adjustments.
The toll rate is still pending final approval from the Toll Regulatory Board.