It is yet another trying morning to get myself to the office, which fortunately (with the beautiful waterfront view) or unfortunately, sits smack in the middle of the CBD. With the new ERP schemes in place, traffic does not seem to have subsided under the pressure of the amount of dollars and cents ticking away from the cashcard.
In fact, I have already lost count of the timing and prices of the various gantries. When the ERP initially started, everyone was faithfully keeping track of it and we even had cars queueing on the shoulder of the road to save a few cents for the next cheaper time slot. But now, it was “Hey! When was this stupid gantry erected?! It wasn’t here 3 months back! &#@%$#”
The gantries have been popping up like mushrooms in the most unlikely places! And now, if you try to get home between 6-8pm, you even have to pay! What is this about work-life balance? Are you going to stick around in the office until it is after 8pm? Or are you going to ignore it and join the crowd in paying for it and jamming up the roads? Seems like the plans of the Ministry of Transport and the Singapore Family Planning and Population Board are in conflict? How are we going to have more children and population growth if the parents are not going to be home because they need to avoid paying for the ERP? And the BIG question looms – WILL the SUCCESS of the ERP be at the COST of Singapore’s future BABIES?!!!
Anyway, that is a sidetrack. As I was saying/writing, I have lost count of where/when/how much it cost to get through the gantries, so I simply gave up and stuck to my usual driving habits and just pay LOR…. According to my survey (more like being kapo(nosy) during tea-time), my survey subjects have also given up on remembering the details of the ERP gantries and have stuck to their normal driving times… So HAS THE ERP HELPED?! Right, it has definitely helped in increasing the amount that I need to top up the cashcard though. =p
Soon, you will see the article issued from the LTA on how “after the implementation of the this and this gantry on the this and this place, with the increase of this and this amount of dollars on this and this timing, the average speed on this and this stretch of road has crawled from 30km/h to 32km/h. Congratulations! The ERP has been a tremendous success! With this in view, we will continue to keep this in place until the average speed has finally increased miniscularly to 34km/h.” I have always wondered how the average speeds were measured… definitely not through the speedometer of my car… Looking at it from their perspective, they simply cannot announce that “oh! We have built gantries all over Singapore and increased the toll prices but there is simply no change in the bottleneck situations. We have just as many cars on the road and just as much traffic jam around.” When a problem crops up, they have to do something about it, whether or not it works, is a separate matter..
They call it the Electronic Road Pricing, I call it the Ever Redundant Plan.