SMC rolls out southern tollways project

SMC Infrastructure, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has launched its “Seamless Southern Tollways” program on December 1.

The company said the program will eliminate the need for northbound and southbound motorists to do multiple toll stops within the expressways.

For years, it’s been the expected travel pattern of Southern Luzon-bound motorists: stop for toll and encounter traffic buildups at the South Luzon Expressway’s (SLEX) Calamba toll plaza, the SLEX-Greenfield toll plaza, and then again at the Sto. Tomas exit, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR).

Department of Transportation (DoTR) Secretary Jaime Bautista welcomed the announcement, saying it is a timely development heading into the high-traffic Christmas season, and would have significant long-term benefits for local economies.

“This is a welcome development for so many of our countrymen who will be heading home to the provinces this December. Usually, our expressways experience the heaviest traffic particularly in the weeks leading up to Christmas,” Bautista said.

“Fortunately, it seems we will all have some relief starting this December, as our private partner toll operator, SMC Infrastructure, has successfully completed the work needed to make travel through SLEX, Skyway, and STAR, more seamless.”

Beyond the holidays, Bautista said the initiative will make the transportation of people and goods to and from Southern Luzon provinces “much faster and more efficient,” with no impact or change in toll rates.

“I commend SMC for continuously looking for ways to minimize traffic and improve people’s travel experience along its expressways, and for investing in sensible and more sustainable solutions to traffic such as this.”

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said that the program, which its infrastructure arm has been working on since early this year, will essentially make travel along STAR, SLEX, and the entire Skyway system (Stages 1,2,3) much faster. 

It is part of the company’s continuing efforts to implement operational improvements to minimize traffic and enhance motorists’ user experience along its tollways.

“Our goal when we started was to cut down toll stops from five to just two–entry and exit–whether for electronic RFID or cash payments, for both southbound and northbound vehicles across all our southern tollways. With this, we can make trips for motorists faster, more seamless, and less stressful, as they will no longer need to endure long queues at multiple toll plazas within the expressways,” Ang said.

In the current scheme, southbound motorists coming from the north and heading to as far as Batangas in the south, usually have to make five stops: Entry via the Del Monte Skyway 3 toll plaza, then another three stops at the Calamba, SLEX Greenfield, and Sto. Tomas toll plazas, and a final stop at their exit point.

Under the new scheme, this will be cut down to just two–at the entry and exit points, according to Ang.

The same will be implemented for northbound traffic, which currently have to make toll stops at the Sto. Tomas main plaza, SLEX Greenfield, the Skyway main plaza in Alabang, and then the Skyway 3 exit. 

In the new set-up, all toll plazas in the middle will be pass-through, with payment stops made only at the Skyway main plaza, and the exit point, Ang said.

Implementation of the new Seamless Southern Tollways program for southbound traffic is set for December 1, while northbound traffic will benefit from the same set-up by December 15. Integration of the NAIA Expressway is set for the first quarter of 2023. 


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