24 October 2009

Effective Road Pricing?

Ape had a somewhat eventful night. Went to the gym after work to burn some calories, purge the nicotined lungs and cleared some cholesterol blocked arteries. Joined wifey and friends for dinner in town after that. Ape made sure he had his cash card inserted into the In-vehicle Unit (IU) just in case Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is still in operation.

Ape is a biker who doesn't frequent town or any of the ERP tolls. As far as Ape can recall, it's an average of once a year ever since ERP was introduced. It does not occur to ape that he has to remember every single toll, the precise hours that they will be in operation and the charges. Simply because, the next time ape has to pass through any of these gantries, the rules has probably changed. Nevertheless, ape had his cash card placed in just in case. It was the journey home that caught ape off guard.

Dinner ended close to 10. Ape deliberated on inserting the cash card. Ape knew he had to travel along CTE and the toll in CTE lasts longer than all other ERP gantry. Ape can take the safe way out by inserting the cash card but run the risk of forgetting to retrieve it. IU on a bike is unlike that of a car whereby one can keep the car locked and a passerby cannot take the cash card without breaking the window. Cash card left in the IU of a forgetful biker can be easily and frequently got "picked up" by any passerby and this happened to ape a handful of times. It is also easy for ape to forget taking out his cash card because ape seldom has any need to place it in the IU.

It was 10 pm and ape is heading out of town... should be safe, ape reasoned. Big mistake.

Traffic was heavy and slow moving. "Accident on lane one" was displayed on the EMAS. Better keep the eyes on the road... in case ape became the 2nd accident. Shortly after the accident site where the traffic became smoother, ape looked up and saw "ERP in operation until 10:30pm". Damn. Where's the next turning before the toll booth? NONE! "What time is it now?" Ape thought. Ape dared not steal a glance at his sleeve covered watch. Nevertheless, ape the saw the time... prominently displayed on the ERP gantry. "10:24pm ...." Shit. "...motorcycles $0.25..." as if in mockery. ARRGGH! Went through the gantry. The LED on the IU flashed red merrily and all ape could do was to wait for the letter from LTA. Ape wondered how much he'll be fined.

(The latest comment about ERP ape read about is here).

No comments: