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Listing created by jared on December 14, 2012    

The Electronic Road Pricing is an electronic toll collection scheme adopted in Singapore to manage traffic with various entry fees being charged at different times. It was implemented by the Land Transport Authority in 1998 much to the dismay of Singaporean road users.


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The Bane of Driving

Learning about the presence of this local installation makes it more prominent in my life. In other parts in the world, we are faced with beautifully crafted architectural arch, but in Singapore, one is faced with the prospects of a money eating machine taking the form of the memorable arch. Indeed, it is a work of art in itself to try and stop the traffic jams that happen all too frequently in Singapore.

Despite the benefits of this local arch, I find the ERP the bane of many car drivers' experience. More often than not, the local drivers try to strategise ways to avoid the ERP - even the GPSes are installed with the function to prompt the user to avoid toll charges. I find that the ERP strikes the hardest blow when I'm taking a taxi due to convenience. The ERP ends up costing a bomb during peak periods especially when I'm heading to town.

Guess it's time to head back into the sardine-packed train to avoid this bane of my life.

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No one likes ERP. Some people feel that it is merely another of the government's ways to tax us but the rationale behind ERP is to reduce congestion at heavily used roads, especially during peak hours. Although I used to be cynical about this rationale, I am beginning to understand it. Because of the payment that can sometimes go as high as $3 per entry, it effectively deters a certain group of motorists from driving through that area and to instead look for alternative routes to ease congestion. It also encourages the usage of public transport as such roads are usually fitted with special bus lanes.

My father also comments that the ERP makes him try not to drive if he can help it and to take public transport instead or to change his appointment times such that it does not clash with the peak periods. However, there are times I question the ERP's validity especially since I still encounter jams along such roads. Perhaps it is because Singaporeans are simply too affluent and these small charges do not mean much to them and hence, effectiveness is reduced.

I applaud the ERP in general but I think its effectiveness and influence is rather limited. The government should look into alternative policies that can help achieve the goal of ERP instead of just taxing everyone.

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(Updated: April 07, 2013)

Needs serious evaluation

I seriously doubt the effectiveness of ERP. It's meant to ease congestion but what it does is tax everyone... and there is still congestion! You just get unnecessarily taxed! And the problem is because there are too many cars in Singapore.

For those who aren't rich, its an unneeded strain and for those who are, its a negligible amount that does not deter them from coming in anyway. Lastly, it taxes people for going home. Now that is just wrong. The whole system needs to be reworked because it strays so far from its original intention - to ease congestion. Although some Singaporeans would argue that was not its original aim and evaluation will never happen.

Because now its a cash cow due to inelastic demand - regardless of the pricing the vast majority of drivers will still pay for it because hey, people need to get to work.

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Expensive? Maybe, maybe not.

I have to say the ERP might be just a tad too expensive for drivers who drive mid-range cars like Hyundai or Mazda, but honestly; if you can afford to cover the cost of the COE and car, I’m pretty the amount of money for the ERP is peanuts to you. After all, it probably is just 1/50 of your monthly expenditure. For those who drive luxury cars like Lexus or Jaguar, pfft, don’t even get me started. You are driving a luxury car and you’re complaining because you have to pay a few bucks? Seriously.

Yes, I completely understand the government’s rationale for using the ERP as an electronic method of collecting entry fees and completely support it – if you can save manpower, why not? However, if the government’s purpose of the ERP is to control and regulate traffic flow into certain areas during specific hours, I can say for sure that the ERP scheme has failed miserably. For us Singaporeans, time IS money. Would we rather take a longer, alternative route which probably costs us an extra fifteen minutes, or just pay a dollar or two? Obviously, the latter would be the best choice.

And now, the great debate about the rising prices of COE. The Certificate Of Entitlement grants us paper ownership of the car for only 10 years, and it excludes the price of the car itself. Ridiculous or not, that’s for you to decide. I would advise Singaporeans to stop complaining about the ERP, and start focusing their energy on the COE instead; although it isn’t as if our opinions would change anything.

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Eyesore Road Policy!

I have yet to attain my license but my frequent taxi and car trips made ERP a regular sighting for me.

Why did they make the ERP sign so humongous? It is truly an eyesore!

Singapore is also known for being clean and green. However, there is nothing green about gigantic electronic products yawning before a tunnel or a road section.

I remembered this ginormous sign inflicting sadness amongst those behind the wheel as they feed their card into the machine within their vehicles.

ERP should sprinkle some joy instead screaming the alphabets E, R and P across the usual blue and white sign. My recommendation may not be the norm but I strongly believe the management behind ERP should collaborate with designers like those in Ikea. Where items are banned from simply being an eyesore via incorporating designs that is swarming with multipurpose-ness yet not severely distracting!

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A poor measure which is lost its original aim

Singapore has this unique feature on the roads that everyone will know. Among the many simplifications and abbreviations, ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) is definitely one of the most famous and least liked. There are many loopholes to ERP that drivers continue to exploit. One way is to find the ERP-less road. Also, during peak hours, the trains are too packed for more people to enter, thus people will not really switch to public transport.

There are more and more gantries appearing in the roads that lead up to the CBD area of Singapore, and the pricing of the gantry is increasing day by day. Once, I took a cab at 7am to rush to outran park secondary school, and on the way i passed 2 gantries! collecting a total of 7 dollars! This measure of limiting cars in the CBD area is not really effective as the volume of cars there is still bursting, and the system is just trying to make more money.

The transport system needs to increase its volume for cars, not the other way around.

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Electronic Revenue Pillager

Well, the idea of traffic control is there, but a pity that its other face as a money generator has destroyed the measure. The appearance of the gantries everywhere has made people give up on avoiding it. and many people have decided to just pay the unavoidable fee just to drive through the CBD when they want to.

In the past, where the gantries were lesser in presence, and not online for such long periods, a number of people really did try to make an effort to avoid the payment, but now that chances of one having to pay a fee whether one goes out later or earlier, I feel that that makes people feel like going to town or work when they want to, and pay that amount for it.

I also feel that the system is also not as fair to all drivers. To avoid theft, many drivers remove their cashcards from the IU, and may forget to put them back, which results in a ten dollar fine. Instead of a sort of overdraft system, where a second chance is given to pay off the exact amount, the fact that a fine is imposed so readily shows that ERP is more of a revenue generator than traffic control system.

In large countries, a toll fee is paid when crossing state or town borders once. In Singapore, a driver may pay a fee more than 3 times in a one way journey through the CBD to work! I feel this blatantly shows why ERP was introduced.

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Which stretch of road is it charging me for?

I used to drive and I was probably one of those lucky chaps that need not go through any ERP gantries to get to work. I know I know.. it sounds ridiculous but well, I do stay and work in the west. But I do have to get through ERP when I go to town.

ERP can be really frustrating, especially when you have insufficient value in your cashcard. Thankfully, I have not yet let myself be in a situation such as that, otherwise I can only blame myself for being so careless. But the frustrating part is when you realised that you passed through one gate after another gate just to move from one area to another. Imagine the following, if you are driving into Chinatown area and then Orchard area, you need to pay twice, and the fact is there isn't really any big thing that stands between them. Is there really a need to charge in this manner.

Also, I am also confused whether ERP was charging me for the stretch after the gantry or before? If it was for the after the gantry, I guessed the most pointless ERP would be at AYE, somewhere near Portsdown. There is a gantry just prior to the exit into Queensway, and it was probably just less than 100m. Why am I paying when I am trying to exit and not contributing to any jams on AYE?

Puzzle puzzle.

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I for one do not see how the ERP is anything more than a revenue generator for the LTA. When my parents used to fetch me to school, they would invariably have to pass by an ERP gantry. We barely arrive before the ERP is in operation, and there always is that rush of adrenaline to go past the gantry before it starts operating. However, I never see myself going out of the way to wake up earlier. Though the ERP’s purpose is to ease traffic, I do not see how a 50-cent charge would make that many people give up an hour of sleep.

I would much rather use the funds in setting up the various ERPs to improve the trensport system.

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$10 admin fee?!

The concept of ERP is sound, but it's application is not. Many cars avoiding toll charges invariably results in smoother traffic, and that may even have worked for some roads. But if you look at the number and placements of all these ERP gantries, some of them are totally redundant, seemingly to serve no higher purpose than generating extra revenue for LTA.

As a rider as well as a driver, I have my fair share of gripes with this system. First and foremost in my mind is - what's up with the 'admin' fee'?!

A common fine packaged into pretty words, this $10 charge is imposed whenever the gantry fail to deduct any $ from us through our in-vehicle ERP unit. It doesn't matter whether the reason is we forgot to put in the cashcard, have insufficient value in the card, or the ERP unit itself is malfunctioning. The fine is sent to you anyway, even after you make the effort to stop somewhere and call their hotline 5min after the perceived transgression. I know, I've gone through this ordeal more than once.

Forgetting to put in the cashcard is not a problem when you're driving. But as any Singaporean rider would know, we have to insert and remove the cashcard into our ERP unit for every trip, just in case it gets stolen when our bike is parked. In a moment of carelessness, we may forget to put in the dam card and pass through an ERP gantry trying to exact a 25c toll charge and end up with a $10 fine instead.

We could appeal of course, but that would seem like too much trouble for a $10 fine. Much to LTA's glee, most people would just pay the $10 and be done with it, then cursing the system in reviews like this. Why should we be penalised when it is an HONEST MISTAKE?! It's not like we're intentionally trying to escape paying a toll charge of 25c, right?

I long for the day we can integrate the ERP unit with our bank accounts and don't have to worry about cashcards ever again. This technology is readily available. I wonder what's taking them so long to implement.

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