Saturday, June 19, 2010

SLEX's 300% Toll Hike is Highway Robbery!

Starting on 07 July 2010, people who use the South Luzon Expressway will have to endure the 300% increase on toll fees. That is if South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) or the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) were not bothered by their conscience, to reverse their ruling of increasing the toll fees at astronomical terms. Remember Albay Governor Joey Salceda, the guy who called GMA as luckiest bitch? I couldn't agree more with his recent statements as follows:

"Trade with Manila is the lifeblood of Bicol and the SLEX is the main artery. The SLEX toll fee amounts to an unavoidable imposition on our traders, farmers, students who study in NCR, workers who work in [Philippine Economic Zone Authority] zones in Cavite, Laguna and on ordinary families who visit their relatives in Quezon City. We can not even protest by not using it. The prohibitive cost is tantamount to a curtailment of trade and our freedom to travel," Salceda said in a statement.

"As a financial analyst, I can easily reckon that it is a homerun for the tollway operator at the expense of users but to use it," he added.

Being a resident of Laguna, using SLEX inspite of the unreasonable toll fee increase is like "kapit sa patalim" (gripping the knife's blade). My current toll fee from Alabang to Carmona Exit will increase from P8 to P32! Our bus and jeepney fares will inevitably increase, and I would probably bring the car at work once a month, instead of current once a week.

How did SLTC and TRB came up with such greed of 300% increase in toll fees? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to analyze that its baseless. However, if they want to recover their investment in less than 5 years, then it makes perfect sense and it could be included on Guinness Book of Records as the fastest ROI in a major road improvement project!

I guess those opportunistic SLTC guys did not asked themselves these questions to justify the 300% increase:
  1. Did the roads became 3 times better? They were only wider by 2 or 4 lanes, from the previous 6-lane highway, which is just a 67% increase at a generous estimate.
  2. Did they erected lightposts from Alabang to Calamba? I have only seen lightposts on the portion of Southwoods Exit, but the rest of the highway is still dangerously dark for motorists. They are not lit up everynight, by the way.
  3. Do they accost those trucks without taillights or running at less than standard of 60kph speeds? I noticed that they are less strict on those violations now compared 5 or 10 years ago.
  4. Are they finished with the improvements on the toll exits? They're all far from being complete, as its usually a changing "maze" when entering the toll exits.
  5. Are the roads smoother and safer now? Hell, there are still uneven parts of the road, especially when crossing the bridges and passing thru those road "patches". NLEX is way far better.
  6. Did they installed emergency calling stations like in NLEX? 
If you want to join a citizen's online protest against this 300% toll hike in SLEX, be a Facebook fan here or post a comment below.

See indefinite temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court. I wonder how long will this TRO last.

SLEX photo above was taken from Wikipedia.
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  1. Placed this 2-liner on my windshield and back of the car:

    "No to 250% Toll Hike at SLEX.
    Please moderate your greed."

  2. Just updated post. Based on leaflets given on toll gates, toll hike is actually higher at 300%, not 250% as previously reported.

    DOTC postponed the hike, so its not 07 July 2010

  3. See related TV interview here by ABS-CBN's Bandila news episode:

  4. On today's news, SC had just unanimously upheld the toll fee increases in SLEX and NLEX. The only question now is WHEN will be the implementation of the higher toll rates. :(

  5. Lifted from BusinessWorld Online:

    SC asked to reconsider ruling

    A LAWYER has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision last month that upheld the legality of proposed toll hikes at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).

    In a 96-page motion for reconsideration filed yesterday, Ernesto B. Francisco asked the high court to declare the supplemental toll operation agreements (STOA) for North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), SLEx and Skyway null and void as these contracts allowed for the automatic adjustment of toll rates, which he claimed was illegal.

    "[With the formula], there will be toll rate increases every two years and interim increases in between. There will be no decreases or reductions in toll rates under any circumstances -- the ‘automatic toll rate adjustment formula’ under the STOA made sure that there would be none," the motion read.

    "This means that the Malaysian investor will be able to recoup its investment in six years and for the remaining 24 years of its STOA, not to mention a 30-year extension to which it is entitled, the Malaysian investor will just be raking in profits."

  6. With the opening of the skyway up to Alabang last 06 April, Citra filed an application to TRB for toll rates increase. Toll rate from Makati to Alabang stretch will become P104 from current P65 on at grade (lower) section. If using the skyway, it will be P143, both with income tax holiday scenario for Citra.

    If without income tax perks, the new toll rate will be P123 on lower section, while it will be P169 on skyway, for the same stretch of Makati to Alabang.

    Therefore, my lowest toll rate from Makati up to Carmona will be P138 at lower level with income tax holiday, or to as high as P203 in skyway without income tax holiday. At current gas prices, my round trip gas & toll fees will hover above P730. Good thing that I got free parking benefit at the office.