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New ERP system ‘will offer flexibility in charging’

SINGAPORE — Motorists reacted to the impending roll-out of a new satellite-based Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system warily, saying they would want to see clearer signage near the zones where ERP charges apply, as well as what the charges are.

ERP gantry

ERP gantry

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SINGAPORE — Motorists reacted to the impending roll-out of a new satellite-based Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system warily, saying they would want to see clearer signage near the zones where ERP charges apply, as well as what the charges are.

Landscaping supervisor Angie Ng said conspicuous signs could be placed about 1km away from the ERP zone to alert drivers. “Big signs can alert me earlier, in case I want to make a detour to avoid ERP charges,” said the 54-year-old who has been driving for the past 20 years.

The charges should also be prominently displayed at every ERP zone, with Mdm Christina Li, 55, an office worker, noting that it would otherwise be difficult to know how much she was paying and keep track of how much she needs to spend every month.

Salesman Andrew Koh hoped to have more information on how the system would be implemented on the ground, which could have implications for processes like filing claims for ERP charges with employers. “With the new system, is there a way to claim from the company?” said the 60-year-old.

SIM University senior lecturer Walter Theseira said the main benefit of a satellite-based system is increased flexibility in road charging. “Flexibility is generally a good thing because it means charges can be varied more finely in response to congestion and demand. For motorists, this potentially means a smoother traffic flow,” he said.

To help motorists get used to the system, SIM University adjunct associate professor Park Byung-joon suggested having a smartphone app which provides GPS navigation that can help direct drivers away from ERP areas. He also pointed out that drivers could pay their ERP charges on a monthly basis and online payment could be made available to drivers for convenience.

Concerns over privacy under the new ERP system were also raised previously when it was first revealed the authorities were adopting it, and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) had assured it had factored this into the design of the new system. The necessary safeguards will be incorporated in the system such that only data necessary to perform relevant functions will be collected, an LTA spokesperson had said previously.

Separately, under the new ERP system, there will be automatic payment for off-peak car owners who drive during the peak periods. Banker Jonathan Yang, who owns an off-peak car, welcomed the move. “(It saves) us the hassle of buying the e-coupons as well as preventing incidents where we forget to buy after using the car,” said the 27-year-old.

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