ERP is AN election issue!

Now and then, I have beefed about the ERP, especially when I find myself having to pay when I didn’t expect the gantry in a particular spot to charge.

Read about it here, here and most recently here when I suggested, tongue in cheek, that we should make the sometimes quirky/whimsical charges imposed by the Government’s electronic road pricing system an election issue.

Now, believe it or not, I see that the Singapore Democratic Party — founded by Mr Chiam See Tong and hijacked by u-no-hu — has started to make a song and dance about the same subject with its post yesterday on the ERP gantries being in strange places .

Am I pleased about this?

Yes and no.

Yes, because I think the Government should be more thoughtful about the charges and the timing of the charges. While an extra — and pointless — 50 cents, $1 or even $3 isn’t going to make me cast my vote for the likes of Chee Soon Juan, what irks is that it demonstrates that some of the people managing this country aren’t close enough to the ground in grassroots matters.

(It’s like I always wonder who sited the bus stops so that they are always on the left hand side of roads so that buses often have to cut across three or four lanes because they need to make right hand turns at a road junction! Don’t the people in charge drive?)

No, because I wish the ruling party will wake up to this — about how their bureacrats are running some of the infrastructure in Singapore with potentially detrimental effects on their political masters — be4 the Opposition capitalises on this area of discontentment.

Still, with the general election at least three months away, the ruling party still has time to sweeten the ground a bit on the roads.

I suggest starting by removing all ERP charges into the CBD on Saturdays. If that’s not doable, at least scrap the afternoon charges.

Because the people going into the CBD on a Saturday to play will surely be far fewer than the number going in to work. So by any stretch of the imagination the roads won’t be as crowded as those on week-days. And ERP shouldn’t be needed to discourage congestion.

And no ERP charges on Saturdays will help somewhat to ensure that all the billion$ properties in the Marina Bay area don’t become ghost towns on week-ends.

Win-win for all except perhaps the tax collector though what he loses on ERP charges will likely — or more than likely — be recouped through GST collections. So it could be a win-win for all, with no ifs and buts 😉

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8 thoughts on “ERP is AN election issue!

  1. Quirky, u can on roads that are One-way only. Even when it’s a two-way street, if there’s a big central “island”. And of cos, passenger exit doors must be on the same side as the driver. This calls for detailed planning ahead of the curve but no, easier to cause huge traffic jams by making many, many buses cross umpteen lanes to turn right, umpteen times a day! 😀

  2. I am a big fan of the ERP – not as a traffic congestion control system, but as a new road tax system. The sooner the LTA and the Ministry of Transport start calling it a new road tax system and not a congestion control system the better.

    Thus I support the erection of more gantries, ON THE CONDITION that the current road tax will slowly be abolished, or reduced to a nominal fee of say $150 ~ $200. It is only fair that the users of the road pay to use them, regardless whether there are more cars on the road on a particular day.

  3. U have a point there xizor20 but if we take it to the logical conclusion of user pay or user pay more then what happens for those without kids (why must they pay tax to fund for MOE); those who don’t use state hospitals (why must they pay tax to fund MOH) etc etc.. fact is no man/woman is an island. We must all pay our share of taxes, directly or indirectly. ERP is supposed to ease congestion — so there shld be no charge when there’s no congestion. Actually with satellites hovering all over, congestion monitoring shld be a cinch n more equitable too; n we can get deducted via our licence plates linked to our bank accounts. No need for IUs or cashcards.

  4. In the Singapore context, I disagree with the comparison of paying taxes to fund the MOH & MOE. First of all, the tax rate for most Singaporeans are really low. In fact, many people earning between $18,000 ~ $23,000 are technically not even paying any taxes at all (GST aside). Whether people use state funded schools / hospitals or not, the MOE / MOH also serves the function of a regulator – establish a certain code of conduct for e.g. or the qualification required of teachers / doctors & nurses. Some of the roles of these ministries would have gone on to govern even non-state funded schools / hospitals.

    That, is different from the usage of roads – which contributes to the direct attrition of the facilities involved.

  5. Eh xizor… u ok? or u pulling my leg? how to get to those state funded facilities like skools n hospitals if can’t use roads without pay n pay? Wot’s the point of those facilities? Think our discussion is getting circular, like going round n round a roundabout, hurhurhur!

  6. Pingback: Mr Lui Tuck Yew: ERP next and… | FOOD fuels me to talk…

  7. Pingback: Bye bye ERP on Saturdays? « FOOD fuels me to talk…

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