ERP to stay free for another month until at least July 26

ERP gantries have been switched off since April 6, 2020. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges at all gantries will stay suspended for at least another month until July 26, after which new rates might take effect.

The first review of ERP rates by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) after the circuit breaker period showed that road conditions did not warrant road charges to be reinstituted.

The transport authority said upon the review's completion on Monday (June 22): "Based on LTA's monitoring of traffic conditions, traffic speeds on expressways and arterial roads in early June have remained optimal.

"ERP rates at all gantries will therefore remain at zero until the next ERP rate review."

The outcome of the next ERP rate review will be announced in the fourth week of July and new rates, if any, will take effect on July 27.

ERP gantries have been switched off since April 6, as activity across the island was slowed down by circuit breaker regulations to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Traffic volume shrank by an average of 60 per cent since January between April and May.

Accidents had also fallen by more than 40 per cent since April 7 by May.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said traffic statistics so far suggest that most employees in the Central Business District are still working from home as far as possible.

"And among those who need to go to their offices, many are adopting staggered work hours," he said.

"The evidence is in the MRT data of commuters going to (and) from CBD. Road traffic, during traditional peak hours, has recovered somewhat but has remained manageable."

He said he expects more people to begin using the roads in the coming weeks and for some congestion to emerge.

The LTA will monitor closely and make the necessary adjustments to ERP rates, he said.

Rate reviews are usually done every quarter but are now held more frequently - every four weeks - to be more responsive to changes in traffic conditions amid the pandemic.

The review frequency will return to the pre-Covid-19 quarterly timeframe at an appropriate time, the LTA has said.

Singapore is now in phase two of its three-stage approach to resuming economic and social activities.

Almost the entire economy is now estimated to have restarted, with safe distancing measures in place, although employees who can work from home are required to continue to do so.

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