Stopping increases of ERP charges can lead to congestion, increased costs: S Iswaran

Photo shows cars travelling on a road under an ERP gantry with a circular inset showing an arrow pointing up. (PHOTO: Getty)
Increases of ERP charges depend on traffic conditions, which are monitored by LTA. (PHOTO: Getty)

SINGAPORE – Stopping increases of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges will lead to heavy congestion and inadvertently increase costs, said Minister for Transport S Iswaran.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Workers' Party MP Leon Perera, Iswaran said that the ERP system is a congestion management tool, to reduce time and productivity losses from traffic congestion by encouraging motorists to plan their routes and travel times.

"Halting ERP increases will lead to heavy congestion and inadvertently increase costs. As an example, logistics drivers will have to spend more time on the road, which raises not only their fuel costs but also shipping and delivery costs, and consumers may ultimately bear such costs indirectly," Iswaran said.


Perera had asked the Minister for Transport about the rationale for increasing ERP charges in May and June, and the impact of these higher charges on traffic congestion. He also asked about the effect of the higher charges on the Consumer Price Index and whether any further increases to the ERP charges this year can be halted in view of high petrol prices and general inflation.

LTA reviews ERP rates, based on traffic speeds

"The Land Transport Authority (LTA) regularly reviews ERP rates based on observed traffic speeds on ERP-priced roads. ERP rates are increased when traffic speeds fall below optimal levels, and decreased when they are above optimal levels," said Iswaran. "The adjustments of ERP rates in May were part of this regular exercise. At the same time, LTA also announced the temporary reduction in ERP rates for the June school holidays and their restoration at the end of the holidays. This is done as part of LTA’s twice-yearly school holiday reviews in June and December when rates are temporarily reduced, given that congestion typically eases in some timeslots and locations during the school holidays."

The minister also added that based on the same principle, ERP was suspended across all gantries and time slots in March 2020 during the circuit breaker period.

"From July 2020, LTA has gradually introduced ERP charges, which currently apply at a total of 35 timeslots across nine locations," he said.

Before the COVID pandemic, ERP was chargeable at 173 timeslots across 29 locations.

"With all workers now allowed to return to the workplace as per pre-COVID norms, more traffic congestion is to be expected. LTA will thus continue to monitor traffic speeds, and adjust ERP rates accordingly to target traffic congestion," Iswaran said.

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