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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rate of Increase of ERP faster than Rate of Vehicular Growth

And that's precisely the point. It's basic economic sense to curb road usage by increasing ERP rates so that road users (aka drivers) feel the pinch everytime the government decides to increase ERP charges.

I liken it to shock therapy: the authorities start you off with a teeny weeny current. The first time we get a shock, we feel the pain. Then we'll gradually get used to it, most likely even get immuned to the level of shock. The current increases and we'll feel the pain again until we take it for granted. Slowly but surely the shock keeps increasing and the cycle continues. Until the shock kills us. In this case, we just stop driving on the roads.

Am I implying that I'm sitting on the side of LTA?

Yes and No. I believe there are demand management strategies to help curb the usage of road space. My guess is that the general population of drivers in Singapore don't understand the gist of congestion charging. The fundamental issue is not in the way the government 'punishes' a driver for using road space. Instead, drivers are supposed to rethink their route choice and travel start times with ERP in place.

If the charge is going to be $5 per gantry at 0900hrs, then either start making your trips earlier or later to avoid the $5 charge. 'Spreading' traffic across a wider period of time makes sense when the peak congestion hours are thinned out.

But to be truly successful, the general public must also embrace tolerance towards flexible working hours. Most jobs in Singapore typically start between 8am and 9am, and give and take 30 minutes on each end, that's smack in the middle of peak hour.

And that's where I'm NOT for the government's view of charging high ERP rates, simply because the authorities are NOT recognising this social fact and yet they take advantage of the situation (by gaining as much revenue from congestion pricing).

While I'm not suggesting that all policies are the evil-doings of government (by gaining as much revenue from congestion pricing), I still choose not to believe that our sound policies have gotten down to such below-the-belt measures. Therefore I'm refuting the coffeeshop talk because there is no basis.

That said, the LTA should work with MOM to push flexible working hours, or even working from home to complement the notion of demand management.

Coming back to the basics, all it means is this: Use the roads only if you have to.

1 comment:

BobaFettish said...

How typical Singaporean, most drivers only complain about the rising ERP rates, without knowing the rationale behind the method of road-use control. More draconian methods used in other countries could have been applied here; like odd-even numbers permitted on the corresponding day of the week & the high 'congestion fee' slapped by Mr Livingston.
Like the rising oil prices, all we have to adjust is our driving style to negate the increase. Bitching won't change a thing.