Defending the ERP system in Parliament yesterday (9 Sep), Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo cited figures to justify the “effectiveness of ERP”.

She said that more than three-quarters of the 74 ERP gantries have not had their rates changed in the last three years.

Of the quarter of 74 ERP gantries that saw changes with 8 showed a discernible upward trend in rates, congestion in those roads was reduced.

Speeds rose an average of 7% per dollar increase, she noted of the eight gantries.

“As for the majority of the gantries which did not need a rate change… a balance has been achieved, with the ERP rate sustaining a traffic speed in the optimal range,” she said.

She added, “The effectiveness of ERP… is not evidenced by the number of gantries that see rate changes, but from the changes in traffic speeds that result from each rate change.”

LTA will change the ERP rates of a gantry when average speeds of vehicles travelling in the road fall outside the “optimal range”. The optimal range for expressways is 45kmh to 65kmh, and for arterial roads, 20kmh to 30kmh.

But she acknowledged that rate changes may elude motorists.

“Speaking as a motorist myself, I have to confess that it is probably true of many motorists that even when rate changes are announced in advance through the media, we don’t always pay attention,” she said.

“Very often, we pay attention when our in-vehicle unit goes beep and we look at the number and it looks different from the last time we were on the road.”

Drivers will then decide whether the time saved is worth the higher rates, she said.

Mrs Teo said the satellite-based ERP system, which the Land Transport Authority is working on, will be a “fairer” system. It is targeted to be in place by 2020.

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