Rounding fees?

ERP 2015
– Image: Lemongraphic

That’s right, rounding fees might be a real thing in the near future. Sound ridiculous? Yes, very. By now, most of you would have read news about ERP II. Rounding fees will be courtesy of these upcoming gantries! For those not familiar with ERP II please read this recent article with a segment that describes some of the changes that will/might take effect in the near future.

A new Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system using satellite positioning technology will be put in place by 2020 and could herald a sea change in how motorists are taxed for congestion. Motorists could pay for the distance they travel on congested roads, rather than pay a flat fee once they enter an ERP zone, as with the existing system

Source: LTA calls for tender to develop satellite based ERP system

For starters, there is mention of location and time based ERP charges. Imagine getting a CashCard-deducting beep every time we turn out of our house carparks. Makes driving seem even more costly in the future then it already is right now, doesn’t it? Are the numerous gantries dotted all around our tiny island not enough? Are our housing areas deemed to be congested traffic situations as well? Seems like Jack Neo wasn’t being to far fetched with those ERP lift gantries.

Lift ERP
– Image: Orinity

We think location based ERP charges are simply a way of tracking our cars’ location real time. Will this be abused by certain law enforcement departments to break up gatherings? Fellow enthusiasts gathering for kopi, only to be asked to disperse by officers tracking our every move.

Distance based ERP charges are mentioned as well in that “horror” article. This is where rounding ‘fees’ might come in. For those unfamiliar with “rounding”, please check out our Lacing Dictionary! It basically means driving around our sunny costly little island for fun, to qi chia or just to enjoy our rides! As I was saying, rounding around our small island might soon cost more than just petrol. If ERP charges were to charge based on distance as well, wouldn’t this burn a bigger hole in our already burnt pockets. Seems like “just going for a drive” will become a costly proposition.

Also, just to clarify, rounding is not necessarily an ahbeng/xiaobeng thing to do. I know the negative image or impression people have of drivers who like to go “rounding”, but I personally know people who genuinely just love driving and enjoy their little drives around our island, without trying to race or overtake every car they meet. Highway looping, spirited drives down our few (ahem 99) winding roads, without the need for excessive speeds or aggressive driving is a real thing for the passionate car enthusiast, or can we call them CarSiao, and is not necessarily a bad thing.

Let’s hope there will be some revising of this upcoming ERP II system, or at least some leeway for all of us to be able to enjoy our rides!

What is ERP?

ERP is an Electronic Road Pricing System used in managing road congestion. Based on a pay-as-you-use principle, motorists are charged when they use priced roads during peak hours.

Minimises traffic volume in heavily used roads in the CBD and Orchard areas, as well as major expressways. Provides a fair price for motorists. Charges are based on usage—those who use the roads pay more; while those who use the roads less frequently or who travel during non-ERP hours pay less or don’t need to pay at all.

Traffic congestion is costly to the individual and society. It results in the loss of productive hours, environmental pollution, wasted fuel and adverse health effects.

Source: LTA / PDF

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