MANILA, Philippines – The delay in the implementation of the toll hike at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) has caused its operator to lose millions of pesos each day.
Officials of the South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC), which holds a 30-year contract to operate, maintain and expand SLEx, said the company was losing P6.5 million per day since July, and will have to implement cost-cutting measures to get by.
SLTC wants to hike toll rates by 250% to recover the cost of rehabilitating SLEx.
The Supreme Court has allowed the increase, but the Toll Regulatory Board postponed its implementation pending consultations with various sectors. SLTC is 80% owned by Malaysia’s second-largest toll road operator, MTD Capital Berhad.
The firm has already submitted a cost reduction proposal to the TRB. Its proposal includes closing the lights along the main line in order to reduce electricity expenses, which amount to P4 million to P5 million a month; suspending services such as litter collection, grass cutting and fence cleaning; and reducing its 133 toll gates by around 30%. SLTC assured that the closure of the toll gates would not affect traffic or safety of motorists.
It said it would use traffic data in determining which toll gates can be closed at certain hours. But the move might have an impact on its employees. Although the company is not considering laying off people, some personnel will have to go through reduced working hours and pay cuts, it said.
SLTC President Isaac David also noted they may have to forgo benefits like Christmas bonuses due to low revenues. They are expecting the TRB to issue a decision on their cost-cutting proposal within the week.
Is this their style to get the government’s attention and people’s pity?
Not working with us though.