SMC Infrastructure said Thursday it rolled out a program to significantly cut traffic at its expressways ahead of the holiday season.
The tollway unit of San Miguel Corp. said it implemented the “Seamless Southern Tollways” program to eliminate the need for northbound and southbound motorists to do multiple toll stops within the expressways.
It said that for years, it expected travel pattern of Southern Luzon-bound motorists, including stopping for toll and encountering traffic buildups at the South Luzon Expressway’s Calamba toll plaza, the SLEX-Greenfield toll plaza, Sto. Tomas exit and Southern Tagalog Arterial Road.
SMC president Ramon Ang said the program, which its infrastructure arm has been working on since early this year, would make travel along STAR, SLEX and the entire Skyway system (Stages 1,2,3) 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,” Ang said.
“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,” he said.
Ang said that 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.
He said that under the new scheme, the stops would be cut down to just two—at the entry and exit points.
The same will be implemented for northbound traffic, which has 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 will start Dec. 1, while northbound traffic will benefit from the same set-up by Dec. 15. The integration of the NAIA Expressway is set for the first quarter of 2023.
Ang said a major development that has allowed SMC Infrastructure to improve this process is motorists’ wider adoption of the Autosweep RFID electronic toll collection system. Since the pandemic, ETC penetration has grown from 45 percent to 80 percent, allowing for safer, more efficient toll collection, and the implementation of technology-based solutions to previous traffic constraints.