Oct 23, 2007

Bird Talk

I don't really care. It's a non-issue to me personally, since I don't drive. Still I found this quite hilarious.
ST Oct 22, 2007
ERP helps more S'poreans to own cars: Minister

THE use of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) has made it possible for more Singaporeans to own cars.

Responding to a question for written reply in Parliament on Monday, Transport Minister Raymond Lim said this is reflected in the growth of Singapore's car population from 680,000 in 1997 to 800,000 in 2006.
[So according to Raymond, the government implemented ERP, therefore more people bought cars. Muahaha, what nonsense.]
Dr Fatimah Lateef, MP for Marine Parade GRC, had asked the Minister if the ERP scheme has met the objectives that it was meant to achieve and if it has improved the traffic flow on expressways especially during peak hours.

In his reply, Mr Lim said since its implementation in 1998, ERP has been effective in maintaining average travel speeds on priced roads within the optimal speed range through regular reviews and rate adjustments. For example, average speeds on the expressways have remained at above 45km/h during peak hours.
Read that again. Slowly. What Raymond is really saying is that since ERP was implemented in 1998, average travel speeds on priced roads have stayed the same. Despite regular increases in ERP charges and the number of ERP gantries, there has been no improvement whatsoever in the average travel speed.
"The use of ERP to manage traffic has made it possible for more Singaporeans to own cars than we otherwise could, and our vehicle population has grown from 680,000 in 1997 to 800,000 in 2006," he added.

"It has also allowed the Government to rely more on car usage charges and less on car ownership taxes to manage traffic demand, and as a result, vehicle ownership taxes have been reduced."
So instead of paying more money to own a vehicle, you pay more money to use it. Is that a real difference? The last time I checked, money is money - even if the government modifies the way it takes the money from you.

Incidentally the increase from 680,000 to 800,000 cars over nine years works out to a per annum rate of less than 2 per cent. This is probably a lot lower than the growth of Singapore's resident population over the same period (don't forget the huge increase in the number of foreigners coming to work and live in Singapore, over that period).

That's actually quite positive news, from the environmental perspective.


Anonymous said...

I think it's not a bad thing for the number of cars to increase and travel speeds to not decrease, ignoring the ERP payments.

If the car population had stayed the same or fallen and travel speeds hadn't increased, I think that would be the real cause for concern.

NagyGa1 said...

From the environmental perspective, there is one big problem: the cars and specially larger transportation vehicles, like buses are not required to pass any standard on their pollution output levels.

(At least as far as I know of, but visibly nothing is needed: )

Lot of the vehicles are having huge black smoke after them. If you just stand at any roadside, can feel the smell, but can easily see as well.

Countries in Europe are requiring every car to get measured during the yearly checkups, plus to be equipped with cataliser. (The thing that filters the smoke.)

It would be a good example to follow.

Anonymous said...

the current strategy is to use ERP rate as variable, and speed as constant. But this is not a quantum leap solution as far as I see.

think of innovative ideas that shift the paradigm. for eg. only even number plate on certain day, or hour, stagger working hours, work from home, decentralise central area to outskirts (not enough is done to the identified regional centers yet in my opinion) etc.

twasher said...

I agree with anonymous 3:16. If the number of people owning cars has increased but congestion hasn't, doesn't that show that ERP is working?

Anonymous said...

Transport Minister Lim is basically restating the very reason why ERP was dreamt up in the first place, as an economic tool via the price mechanism to more accurately reflect the economic costs of congestion.

Hence, instead of having high registration fee, additional registration fee etc, these costs of ownership have been reduced and the vehicle user is paying more for causing congestion, when he/she drives.

I am not so sure about the causal relationship between having ERP and having more people owning cars. People also own cars because they are so fed up with the bus/mrt/taxi services and are willing to pay to own and use cars.


Mr Wang Says So said...

Here are the factors which would REALLY affect the number of cars and car owners in Singapore:

1. How much people earn.
2. The number of COEs issued.
3. How good or bad the public transport system is.

The implementation of ERP certainly would not induce you to buy a car - more likely, it would induce you NOT to buy a car.

Anonymous said...

What about the RADIATION?

For the readers to be able to detect the cash cards from a height of at least 4 metres overhead, and with vehicles moving through at such high speeds and in such large numbers, they must be so powerful as to emit harmful stuff (pardon me - I am not well-read in science and thus do not know what name to put to it, but this thought of my brains being "fried" by the radiation each time I pass under a gantry just keeps bugging me), no?

Believe it or not, a friend of mine told me each time she does pass through a gantry, she gets a sudden pounding headache.


Anonymous said...

I think what the Minister was trying to say (not that I agree that it's true) is that people can buy more cars and yet refrain from using them too frequently because of the ERP, hence resulting in a greater good for all since traffic jam is bad for everyone. This point of view is couched on the idea that cars are oftentimes luxuries and not always necessities, and that people also buy cars for 'fun' and not just for work or carting children to school. And cars would cease to be necessities because public transport would be so efficient the average commuter would be indifferent between the two. At least, that is what I imagine the Minister's point of view might be...

Alan Wong said...

Mr. Wang,

I like your title "Bird Talk" but why don't you instead use "Talk Cock" as depicted by the picture. I believe they mean the same thing.

Being the gentleman that you are, I presume you are just being plain polite.

But sometimes when we talk about these overpaid PAP Ministers who thinks that they are worth much more, I don't think there is any need to be discreet.

Jetreroy said...

How much are we paying annually for these retards again?

George said...

Environment viewpoint:

No two ways about it. More cars simply = more pollution.

Who would buy one, incur parking charges for a space at home, and not use it?

Don't make car sense!

More cars are allowed for no other than political /business reasons. Not because they love you.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang's use of "Bird Talk" is indeed polite. I said the same words to a Duty Manager in a Beijing Hotel once. The said manager explained that his (Chinese) customers from other Chinese Provinces were treated worse than me when I questioned him why his serving staff treated me and my wife less attentively than they treated a caucasian couple.

Anonymous said...

mr wang, so de govt has sort of rejected de gay issue rite ? will u be doing an entry on tat ?

Anonymous said...

Talking about ERP, let's me tell you how fast they mount the new ERP gantry's sensors, along the expressway going towards Changi Airport. This gantry is situated about one kilometre before the Rochor Canal exit.

One night.

Yes, that's right. Faster than refunding your income tax credit. Collecting money from the car owners must have been given the highest possible priority.

zj83 said...

hmm...vehicle population? does that include public transport like bus and esp taxis?
how abt commercial vehicles or cars bought by a company for its own staff?

minus all these i tink we can get an actual figure of the no of car ownership in singapore.

well, our 'elite' millionaire minister still got room for improvement on his paliamentary speech. haha.

Anonymous said...

I believe the ERP has done it's fair share in maintaining the speed despite the increase in car population. This is a fact.

However, I am not satisfied with what the government has done till date. Using ERP to maintain the speed is a NO BRAINER policy. Aren't our ministers the best? Why can't a more radical and efficient system such as a more efficient public transport system be designed for the majority of us Singaporeans?

Better public transport = more people using it = fewer people driving = fewer cars on the road = faster average speed

Anonymous said...

Any profit maximising corporation will want to operate at the most efficient point in the demand/supply curve.

See it from that point of view and indicators such as the time you spend getting to work, are irrelevant (odd it may seem).

Anonymous said...

This is crazy!!! Is he trying to tell us that Singaporeans like ERP? Is he trying to tell us that they planning to put up more of those blood(money)sucking machines on the road? Is he trying to tell us that they are going to increase the prices of ERP? I am surprised that he said those things!!! I think he is out of ideas.
Don't you think it is simply amazing for us to pay him so much to have our backside burnt??!!!
Since GE (if i am not wrong)
1) taxi fare up
2) bus fare up
3) GST up
4) Minister pay up
5) now necessity up

Whats next??!! Mr elites?? My money is dying to be yours!!!!

Anonymous said...

Another classic, "Singaporeans are stupid, so we give them stupid replies and answers!"

I think, an answer like "ERP is necessary to help the poor." Will even be pass off.

Now I know, why are they paid millions, because they already know EVERYTHING WILL go up.

Anonymous said...

grave vine has it that our surveillance system has gotten so advance that it is able to track and process information of driver's vehicular movement. This is then fed into their huge database to facilitate future road planning. apparently, the system is also intelligent enough to detect any irregularities of certain driver's habits that maybe useful for security purposes etc.

more vehicle ownership not only boost the economy and coffers, but it also provides better grip for the captain behind the wheel.

Devil said...

The ERP system has clearly served its purpose. If average speeds have remained the same despite the increase in the number of cars, isn't that for Singaporeans. No?

Beside, the introduction of ERP has certainly boosted car ownership. Car prices have been lowered - another key factor cleverly omitted by Mr Wang - as a result of the ERP.

Anonymous said...

really a load of crap.

what is the use of owning a car when the cost of using it is going higher and higher. You can afford a car but can't afford to drive it! :s Expensive decoration????

CTE is going have ERP till 1030 at night on 1 nov. What rubbish is this. Man. This is additional road tax man. They using jam as an excuse to tax people. I rather not pay and be stuck in the jam. Damn inconvenient. Soon every route I take got ERP gantry!

The only reason they encourage people to buy more cars is that they can collect more revenue. They drop the COE so that they can collect more ERP revenue. Probably a better deal compared to the 1 time collection of COE!!! They tell us how many millions to put the gantry up. If it is so expensive don't put it up lah. Give all sorts of stupid reasons.

Gerry said...

The solution from the govt. is simply PAP.. pay and pay..

Million Dollar salaries and that is the best solution they can come out with.. Seems like a lot of SGP Govt. solutions is linked to PAP.. U know what that means right..??..

The limits of thinking out of the Govt. box is obviously "limited".. I think they need a bigger box or (my suggestion) ask the people for ideas..

The transport issue in SGP has become so muddled.. On 1 side there is the issue of congestion. Thats what you get when you don't use all your roads to your advantage and for "stuffing" the bulk of the working population in ever growing "towns" with one-way out and one way in roads.. eg.. the great SGP heatland of toa payoh + bishan + AMK + Hougang .. and then give the people 1.. UNO.. satu.. CTE.. the outcome from the helicopter point of view is obvious to ME at least.. hope it is for you guys too.. maybe the Govt will get it.. they probably have but maybe its intended..

hope you guys will get a laugh or smile.. I just ran out of time..

Anonymous said...

More cars, yet traffic speed stays the same. Obviously ERP works. The question is why keep COEs then. The answer to congestion is to increase ERP, which addresses traffic congestion and scrap the COE, which deals with car ownership, not congestion. COEs instead promote congestion since people have already paid so much for the COE that they naturally want to spread out the COE cost by using the car more often.

Anonymous said...

Haha Mr Wang, did you forget a certain President Scholar saying in Parliament that (in similairity) "When demand goes down, prices must go up" towards the lack of take up in "owning your shophouse" scheme era?

Simply classic economics, no other living human can understand.

sandycharm said...

I think ERP has been evolving into a blunt tool against car usage. Apparently, the price of COEs will be lowered as time goes on (so that Singaporeans can fulfill their aspirations) but ERP will be a sort of pay-as-you-use tool monitor on their car usage. So you can own a car but don't take it out of your garage/carpark.
I'd prefer VQS/COE over having a lot of ERPs though.
Also, when you increase the number of ERPs across the island, we might grow numb/desensitized towards paying up and we might not plan the route properly anymore (since you have to pass through them somewhere).. Congestion! Whoohoo!!