‘No RFID, no entry’ plan at Skyway’s 2 exits hit

TRB exec says proposal covering Bicutan, Sucat routes to solve congestion

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SKYWAY WARNING An advisory dotting the Skyway warns motorists that Bicutan and Sucat exits will soon be closed to non-RFID users. A toll official, however, says the measure has yet to be finalized. —MATTHEW REYSIO-CRUZ

A traffic advisory mounted at various toll gates along the Skyway has been causing a stir among motorists and residents of Metro Manila’s southern cities.

The advisory, which warns that Doña Soledad (Bicutan) and Dr. A. Santos (Sucat) exits will soon be exclusive to RFID (radio-frequency identification) users, even provoked a reaction from Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon, who vowed to send Skyway O&M Corp. (Somco) an official letter protesting the move.

“Like your previous failed C5 toll configuration, this plan lacks sufficient consultation and explanation to those who will be affected by this policy,” Biazon said.

Not final

But according to an official of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), which supervises and regulates toll facilities, the proposed plan is far from final.

TRB spokesperson Alberto Suansing told the Inquirer on Monday that Somco had suggested the measure in early 2018, but was advised to first conduct a sensitivity analysis to determine its impact.

When asked about the advisories along the elevated expressway, Suansing said it was more likely placed to gauge how the public would react than to announce a definite scheme.

“I think [the advisories] are part of the sensitivity analysis. They’re floating the idea to get the motorists’ reaction,” he said.

The advisories did not specify a starting date for the initiative.

Gridlock

He added that the rationale behind the proposal was to ease the gridlock at toll plazas along the Skyway, where there was often a buildup of cars at gates that accept cash payments.

“We’re really encouraging motorists, for their convenience, to subscribe to the electronic toll collection system,” Suansing said. “Of course, every toll plaza also needs manpower, which leads to additional costs on the part of concessionaires.”

The reaction to the proposal, however, was swift and scathing, as many pointed out that it would force non-RFID users to use Alabang exit, which is 8 kilometers away from Bicutan. They said the added distance would mean a heavier toll fee.

Bottleneck transfer

Some social media users also pointed out that while it might ease congestion at the first two exits, it would only transfer the bottleneck to Alabang.

Bicutan and Sucat exits are vital to motorists heading to the cities of Taguig, Parañaque and Muntinlupa. The Bicutan exit leads to a hub of police and military camps, while the Sucat exit leads to Barangay BF Homes, one of the most populated villages in the country.

Somco had not responded to queries sent by the Inquirer on Monday. –By: Matthew Reysio-Cruz 



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