Forum: GPS can do what new-generation ERP can

I was surprised to read about the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) decision to spend $556 million on a new-generation Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system, which basically acts as a real-time display panel (New ERP system to start in 2023 without distance charging, Sept 9).

Is this the right time to spend money like this when such real-time information can easily be obtained by motorists with their in-built navigation system in their cars or with the use of Google Maps on their mobile phones?

Should we not be saving this money for a new system that is different from the current one, with more advanced technology?

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Thursday that LTA had some practical constraints, having called for an international tender for the project and that it was contractually bound (Congestion-pricing model to remain for new ERP system, Sept 11). He went on to say: "There can be consultations and change of design but it will affect the contract. We will have to see how to do this better next time."

Isn't it better to pay a penalty to cancel the tender or use a force majeure clause, to free parties from obligations or liabilities due to Covid-19, rather than spend the millions with no input from motorists?

We need to save now and not spend unwisely. In addition, while the gantries are bulky, this should not be a reason to spend at this stage unless we are 100 per cent certain on design and technology. I hope this decision will be reconsidered.

Sunil Kumar Ragnath