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Boycott plan worries toll road firm

The operator of the 16.4-kilometer Skyway elevated toll road in southern Metro Manila is expecting a hit on toll revenues if more than two dozen bus companies make good on their threat to “boycott” the expressway due to alleged safety issues, its top official said Monday.

Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corp. CEO Manuel Bonoan, however, said the toll road was safe and conformed with international standards.

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The reported boycott, disclosed in a previous report by former party-list representative Homer Mercado, would involve at least 25 companies, or 500 bus units, including Mercado’s HM Transport and Worthy Transport. No date for the move was mentioned.

The planned boycott was to protest the operator’s failure to add new infrastructure safety measures in the wake of the Don Mariano incident last December, when a public bus fell off the elevated toll road, killing 21 people. These measures include addressing the integrity and height of the barriers.

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Bonoan said Skyway, which is mainly owned by San Miguel Corp. and Indonesia’s Citra Group, handles about 181,000 vehicles a day.

While the units involved in the reported boycott are relatively small, buses are typically charged about double the toll fees of smaller automobiles like cars and vans.

“Certainly there will be a reduction, it would be naïve to say revenues will not be reduced,” Bonoan  said in an interview, while declining to elaborate.

He noted that the company was taking steps to reassure motorists while providing “non-structural” safety measures.

These include more signs warning drivers to be more cautious and additional patrol cars to enforce its rules.

In its website, Skyway also warned drivers of buses and trucks to “not  to use the leftmost or passing lane of its 13.5-km at-grade road section from Magallanes to Alabang and its 16.4-km elevated tollway.”

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TAGS: boycott, bus firms, Business, Skyway, Transport
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