I read with dismay the news that Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) at two gantries will go up by $1 for the morning commute from Monday, with one gantry on the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) charging $4 during the 8am to 9am slot (Car ERP to go up by $1 at 2 gantries from Monday, April 30).
Besides the KPE (ECP), is there an alternative road to the city area? Did the Land Transport Authority (LTA) investigate the underlying cause of traffic congestion before deciding to raise the tolls?
The problem of congestion will not be solved even if motorists take an alternative route as it would only move congestion to another road.
Some people have taken to using suburban roads to get to the city, resulting in a sudden surge of traffic in areas used to light to moderate traffic. Speeding and reckless driving in these areas are not uncommon during the morning rush.
As for the KPE, one key reason for the congestion is the population surge in nearby Punggol town.
Punggol's population has swelled from 98,140 in 2014 to 161,570 as of June last year. That number is likely to swell even further with the building of new housing developments (Expanded expressway link to ease congestion, Oct 25, 2018).
Simply increasing ERP rates will not help congestion as more and more people move to the area. LTA must start planning early to prevent traffic congestion by expanding road capacity or building new expressways.
Donny Ho Boon Tiong