So, here we go.

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has given their approval for the toll fees for the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 (or just Skyway 3), but it wasn't what we expected.

A few months ago, we published the toll fees proposed by the Skyway operator, a company under San Miguel Corporation (SMC). They were petitioning a PHP 110, PHP 133, and PHP 274 toll matrix for motorists that will drive the southern segment, northern segment, and full alignment of Skyway 3, respectively.

The approval granted by the TRB, however, is lower than what they were requesting.

For Class 1 vehicles taking Skyway 3 from Buendia to Sta. Mesa, the approved toll fee is PHP 105, PHP 5 lower than the PHP 110 SMC was petitioning.

For Class 1 vehicles taking Skyway 3 from Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard to NLEX Balintawak, the toll fee will be PHP 129, PHP 4 less than the petitioned PHP 133.

For Class 1 vehicles taking Skyway 3 for its full alignment from Buendia to NLEX Balintawak, the approved toll fee is PHP 264. This fee is 10 pesos less than the proposed PHP 274.

There is another shorter segment that the TRB approved which is from Sta. Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard and Class 1 vehicles will be charged PHP 30 for that.

To find the toll fee for Class 2 vehicles, multiply those fees by 2. For Class 3 vehicles, multiply those fees by 3.

While the toll fee has been approved on a provisional basis by the Toll Regulatory Board, the operator cannot charge or collect toll fees yet because the Toll Operating Permit (TOP) or authority to collect hasn't been issued yet.

For SMC to be able to charge toll fees, they need to comply with the following requirements from the TRB's press statement:

1. The project must be “substantially completed”. The conditions for substantial completion are as follows:

A.) Project is at least 95% complete.

*An assessment was submitted by an independent consultant earlier this month stating that the facility is already 97%. This assessment is now subject to evaluation and validation by the Board.

B.) The project must conform to the approved final engineering design.

C.) The project is capable of being operated safely and commercially

D.) The toll road facilities thereon have been installed.

*The installation of Toll Collection Equipment and System, which are needed to collect tolls, by the CENTRAL Metro Manila Skyway Corporation, is ongoing. A joint testing amongst the TRB, the proponent and Independent Consultant will commence on Monday, 29 March 2021, in areas where installation was completed, to ensure that there are no system glitches or flaws to avoid a repeat of the RFID problems we had in the past.

TRB says they will publish the provisional toll fee matrix once a week for three consecutive weeks. Once they are satisfied that Skyway 3 meets all the above criteria and that the company has posted the required bond, the TRB will issue the authority to collect and a Notice to Start Collection.

The Skyway 3 was the subject of a brief but confusing squabble recently when Skyway SOMCO published a social media post that they are shutting down the still free-to-use Skyway 3 in compliance with a TRB directive. The TRB immediately said they would never issue that order. The matter was settled when San Miguel chief Ramon Ang announced that Skyway 3 would remain open.