The recent increase in the ERP rates make absolutely no sense. Deterring motorists from using expressways only results in shunting vehicles to feeder roads, increasing more traveling time and greater consumption of petrol. The PAP is taking the lazy and easy way out of solving our traffic situation by simply penalising road users.
Without effective opposition in Parliament Minister for Transport Mr Raymond Lim has become callous in his implementation of the ERP system. Apart from the rates, Mr Lim has been erecting ERP gantries at the strangest of places.
Take, for example, the one at Bras Basah Road. The gantry is placed at the junction just before the turn into Selegie Road (circled in the picture on the right).
This means that motorists wanting to get out of the downtown area and who do not add to the congestion in the Central Business District also have to pay for the ERP.
A simple solution to this problem is to place the gantry after the traffic junction (red bar) which would allow vehicles turning into Prinsep Street avoid paying the ERP penalty while still catching those continuing along Bras Basah Road.
Is this callousness on the part of the Transport Ministry or was the gantry deliberately placed there for the sake of collecting more revenue.
Another example is the Bendemeer Road gantry. Placed at the junction shown below, the ERP catches vehicles going into the city from the MacPherson and Paya Lebar areas.
But it also penalises motorists who do not want to get into the city by taking the U-turn on Whampoa North and going towards Toa Payoh or Potong Pasir.
Similarly the gantry catches motorists turning into Geylang Bahru and not adding to the congestion downtown.
On the other hand, motorists joining the traffic on Bendemeer Road from Geylang Bahru do not pay the ERP even though they are adding to the congestion.
The placement of the gantry just a few hundred feet from its present (circled) location to the new one (red bar) would solve the problem. Again, is the Transport Ministry using the ERP as a cash cow?
This is where the opposition comes in. It needs to watch out and speak up on matters like this and keep the Minister on his toes. SDP parliamentarians will not be silent on such issues. If in parliament, we will press Mr Raymond Lim to rectify the problem.