Satellite ERP, Another Myopic Non-Solution

Splashed on Propa Times, preparing Singaporeans of the next coming

Someone sent me the little picture above this morning. I wasn't sure when was this copy published, it could be a long while ago. Doesn't matter, will discuss anyway.

Have any one of you ever stopped to think what Singaporeans expect of government policies? What do you expect of a sound policy? My criteria is simple;

1) Feasibility
2) Prudence
2) A mutually beneficial, win-win situation for the nation and its people. 

Am I asking too much from my government and their statutory boards? I don't think so. I think many of you expect more.

Before I go into Satellite ERP, I would like to highlight an example of LTA's track records. Take a look at this bus stop below.

Many of us old farts will recognise one of these as part of our lives. We grew up with them. Have any one of you ever wondered why we spent millions of dollars to demolish and rebuild these again and again? Was it because old bus stops were not structurally designed to last more than 10 years? Was it because some of these bus stops were in poor condition. If so, I agree that would be a good reason to do so. There should not be a compromise where safety is concerned. But how do we explain one of these bus stop shown below?

Unsafe? Not functional? High maintenance? None. Bear in mind, since Singapore's independence, we have seen more than 5 waves of bus stops renewal. Take a look at this site [link] and be impressed. Do yourself a favour as a tax payer and ask yourself a simple question. Is bus stop renewal scheme feasible or prudent? Does it benefit you? How does it benefit the nation? Can you live with older bus stops? Improve tourism? Get real.

Let's get down to the stuff in proper. Satellite ERP. The advantages of a satellite ERP are as follows;

1) The redundancy of the present physical ERP gantries will translate into cost savings for the government in the long run. 1 ERP gantry costs around 1 million SGD.

2) It is capable of a large array of functions that the current ERP gantries fall short of. With its real time tracking, ERP pricing can be responsive and flexible according to road conditions. 

3) These new functions can be extended to tracking speeding offences, deeming both mobile and static speed cameras redundant. It can be used to replace the current parking system entirely, a completely gantry-less, coupon-less system.

4) It can be used to track hit-and-run criminals, though that will be one of the last thing on the agenda for LTA's policy department.

Every policy department of the government must consider a new policy beginning with the end in mind. What do we want to achieve with ERP Satellites? What is the ultimate aim? The convenience in charging road tolls or the reduction of traffic congestion? Can we reduce traffic congestion by increasing the current ERP charges to $50 per beep? I am willing to bet my last dollar with the Minister Lui Tuck Yew that it will do the job. Save us Satellite ERP. As a citizen of Singapore, it pains the heart to see our current batch of gantries which cost 1 million bucks a piece become white elephants. Does any one wants to estimate the cost of demolishing these gantries? How about considering leaving one behind as a relic? Improve tourism, yeah? Can't wait to see tourists posing around the surviving ERP like how they do it at the leaning tower elsewhere. 

Why are we spending millions on new ways to divert traffic where over-population is the real issue behind our road congestion? As mentioned earlier, a new exorbitant ERP charge with the current gantries will deter users from the roads to public transport, which is also bursting at its seams already, if anyone of you noticed. How will Satellite ERP solve the problem of congestion differently than the current system? Does it benefit the citizens better? The LTA should come forth and explain their objectives, reveal their feasibility studies, cost-benefits analysis and properly engage the people to understand their real needs instead of charging forward in their usual high-and-mighty way. But they will never. Remember, did anyone ask YOU if you need your bus stops replaced?