It seemed like the number 5 (brought to you by Sesame Street?) had been very popular recently – like how Fauzi spoke of the 5 easy steps to increase google pagerank, and how secondary 5 students were asked to join ITE instead of sitting for their O levels exams – which may potentially lower the school’s ranking. Well, apparently the LTA had built more ERPs in heartlands, bringing the vision of Every Road Pays closer to heart.

MOTORISTS can expect to pay more to use the roads over the next few months when five new ERP gantries – mostly in the heart of residential areas – are up and running.

The gantries are in Upper Bukit Timah Road (outside Hume Park), Toa Payoh Lorong 6, Upper Boon Keng Road, Kallang Bahru Road and Geylang Bahru Road.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said these gantries will be switched on when traffic flow falls below ‘optimal speeds’ – defined as 45kmh to 65kmh for expressways and 20kmh to 30kmh for non-expressways. Sources expect the ranges to be raised this year, which means Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) could be implemented on more roads – even in the evening.

Some residents are already voicing concern over why the new gantries are in their neighbourhoods.

Commenting on the gantry outside Hume Park, Bukit Timah resident Bervyn Lee, 43, said: ‘The road here can get jammed. But will a gantry solve the problem?

‘My feeling is that it will just redistribute traffic around,’ the director of sports culture at the Singapore Sports Council added.

Toa Payoh resident Tony Chan, 68, a retiree, wanted to know why the Lorong 6 gantry was at the entrance to the residential area.

The LTA spokesman said the new gantry plugs a gap in an outer ERP cordon that seals off non-expressway routes into the city. He said if gantries were at exit points of Toa Payoh, more residents in the estate would be affected.

But the spokesman added that ‘the new gantries are built because traffic conditions on these identified roads may soon deteriorate below the optimal speed range’.

When the new ones are operational, the motoring public will have more than 60 gantries to navigate. Indications are that more will come as the Government shifts the taxation burden from vehicle ownership to usage.

Gantries in the residential heartland will also have an impact on those who take taxis.

Cabbies tend to avoid ERP-controlled roads because of the extra cost incurred. Hence residents in Toa Payoh, for instance, might find it difficult to hail a cab in the morning when the Lorong 6 gantry is switched on.

‘To many drivers, ERP is a big deterrent,’ said cabby Myke Purba, 62.

christan@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 12th January 2008



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