The speed of vehicular movement downtown where the brand new ERP gantries with their very expensive cameras to catch 'recalcitrant' motorists are an abonimation of the common sense when it comes to this form of 'taxation'.
How could the case that ERP is not simply for revenue but rather for 'ease of traffic flow for motorists' stand in the CBD area when:
1. The grid system of lights ensures there is never a 'green' flow one way
2. The number of pedestrian crossings, with both pedestrians and vehicles always trying to break into each other's 'green light' time essentially causes more slowdowns
3. The sheer number of lights to and before these new gantries are simply mind numbing
4. The number of tourist who wander about aimlessly (on foot or in vehicles) in town will probably cause some form of traffic slowdown though this may be neglible (every drop counts just as every vote does)
5. That touristy areas will inevitably attract busloads of tourist who's busses will invariably drop them off wherever they please (like taxis) and cause a 2 lane foul up on a 4 lane thoroughfare
6. Are any of these factors in the control of motorists who have to use these roads?
IF for the other areas with ERP (i.e. expressways) the idea that a charge reduces flow works then it may be fair in that it is sensible since there is only vehicular traffic. But in town?
Sounds a bit like Malaysian thinking to me according to today's news on the northerners wanting to build a elevated expressway but charging those using the Causeway for it. A bit of logic mis-match from our first in class policy makers I would say - unless they proclaim or acknowledge that it is purely for revenue purposes.
And talk about never a good time to levy these increases? In the midst of a runaway inflationary period? Soaring commodity prices? Relentless price surges by the speculative market? More policy work can be done in these areas is my opinion.
Clamp down on the speculative markets related to commodities for a while. Let the world (the majority anyway) who are not in these markets survive a little more. As policy makers you do not have to knowingly raise the water levels to just under a tall man's nose and claim that he is still alive anyway. There are many shorter people out there. And there are non-swimmers as well.
A vote of no confidence in the government for the future of policy making is called for.
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