ERP rates suspended at most gantries from Monday
Zero charging will take effect at several gantries during most time slots
Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) will be suspended at most locations from Monday, with the bulk of remaining spots seeing rates slashed.
All gantries in the city and several on expressways and arterial roads will see zero charge.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen less commuting, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday that he had asked the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to bring forward the usual quarterly review of ERP rates.
As such, zero charging will take effect at several gantries during most time slots from Monday.
For instance, southbound Central Expressway before Braddell Road towards the city will be free from 7am to 9am, down from between $1 and $2 now. Bukit Timah Expressway will be free at all times.
In total, 74 out of 77 gantries will see a reduction of up to $2, and 56 gantries will see zero charge.
All the given rates are for cars.
The only three gantries with no change to current charges are in Upper Boon Keng Road, Lorong 6 Toa Payoh and Ayer Rajah Expressway after North Buona Vista.
The LTA said the reductions are not to encourage people to drive more, adding that motorists and commuters should still defer all non-essential travel.
Speaking to reporters at the Intelligent Transport System centre yesterday, Mr Khaw said traffic was now "lighter than even during the December school holidays".
"Yesterday, I deliberately during peak hour - 8am - went to work in the office. I drove. Usually, it takes me 55 minutes, but yesterday I did it in 20 minutes," he said.
"The situation has changed. We have to be nimble. This is the first time in so many years that we vary the (ERP review) framework."
Mr Khaw added that Singapore is also making use of the lighter traffic conditions to speed up roadworks.
"Previously, we will avoid roadworks during office hours. But now, what is peak and what is off-peak is blurring," he said. "So, we are taking advantage of this... to do what we need to do anyway."
The LTA said it will review rates more frequently as traffic is expected to reduce further should the Covid-19 situation continue.
Asked if ERP 2.0 - a satellite-based system which can charge according to distance - would be delayed, Mr Khaw said: "We are pressing on with all our development projects."
But he added that global manufacturing has been affected by the pandemic and there may be some delays. "We are watching closely to see if we can keep to the timeline."
ERP 2.0 was slated to start later this year with the replacement of in-vehicle units.
Mr Ang Hin Kee, adviser to the national taxi and private-hire driver associations, said the move was in response to "what many have surfaced to LTA and the Transport Ministry", and that the "response has been very timely".
Mr Ang added he is also "glad the Ministry of Transport has reviewed its regulations on food and parcel delivery" by taxi and private-hire car drivers.