To the ERP system:

In the great tradition of visual literacy (a picture tells a thousand words), I have this for those who believe in the ERP system and who continue to erect ungainly and futile concrete and electronic structures to tell Singaporeans that other countries are looking more attractive to live in, largely because these other countries don’t punish the have-nots for having to work in the city area.

That’s a pretty long sentence eh, but anyway, here goes:


Thank you, Begbie, for the precise use of sign language to tell those who make public policy for transport in Singapore. It’s a little unsophisticated, but I’m sure there’s a few in our town who won’t immediately get this universal message until he keeps his index finger in.

You folks might make the traffic smoother at all costs (there’s a pun!), but man, you don’t want to be blamed for the next elections result.

Note: What is fascinating, as some ST Forum letters have shown, that the general public is very aware of what’s plaguing our transport system, and what needs to be done to fix the problem for good (three words: limit car population). But some guys (I’ll refrain from name-calling here), pretend to know everything from their computer simulations and traffic flow charts, and hide behind their data. For goodness sake, listen to the people lah. I want SG to be number one in emphatic politics, everything else is insignificant.

12 Replies to “To the ERP system:”

  1. Actually, their “computer simulation” may be nothing more than a simple Excel spreadsheet…

    After all, they are only interested in “number of cars x number of gantries x ERP charges” = “revenue”

  2. Err… you realise you’re contradicting yourself somewhat right? If the solution is to limit car population as you say, then it’s a bit thick coming from someone who owns a car, no?

    Whether or not ERP works is besides the point for me. All I know is that I subscribe to this theory – those who can and will pay to use the roads will continue to do so (e.g. expats, rich Singaporeans). Those who can’t, well too bad, really. Move to Sydney or London then. Which brings me to my next point…

    … ‘largely because these other countries don’t punish the have-nots for having to work in the city area’ you say? I believe the tolls into Sydney City and London are sky-high too. So, which ‘other countries’ might you be refering to?

  3. Dear G,

    Yes, I’m a bit thick…but only around the waist! Yes I do own a car, but try driving to my workplace in the morning – it will set you back nearly $10. That’s why I take MRT to work now and the car is the kids’ taxi driven by the wife.

    BTW, do you drive?

    ERP doesn’t solve the problem of the number of cars on the road. You reduce the number of cars in the city, you clog up roads elsewhere AND overload the public transport system. The COE system failed and nobody will admit it, so we’re still paying extra money for something that doesn’t work when we buy a car.

    You also forget that there are not so rich people who really need a car to get their work done – businessmen (not all are rich, many are struggling), sales people, distributors, etc etc, and they can’t always claim transport allowances.

    The taxi system is broken as well – just ask the cabbies who can’t stop where they need to in the city.

    ERP breeds elitism without solving fundamental issues. If I can’t own a car due to balloting, so be it, but at least I will see logic in that sort of system. I don’t see logic in ERP at all.

    And you can’t compare with Sydney and London which are connected to other cities in the same country -we can’t exactly relocate our offices to M’sia you know. Then again, many Londoners are running to other countries precisely because of ultra high taxes. Dunno about the Aussies though.

  4. Yeh, I meant ‘a bit rich’, but dunno why ‘thick’ entered the vocabulary.

    I don’t own a car myself. Mostly cos’ I can’t afford one. And I’m just talking about the cost of buying one, never mind using and maintaining it!

    You’re right – ERP does not solve fundamental issues. I guess if it did, or if the transport system is almost flawless (Hong Kong, anyone?), then the ERP being ‘elitist’ is somewhat justified. You’re also right about the COE system failing. The revamped system a few years back was meant to allow ‘transparency’. There’s nothing transparent about the COE system! Back to HK, I’m very intrigued by the ‘siew ba’ (minibus) system. I tell you man, for Singapore, ‘siew ba’ is the future. If you have these mini buses running all over Singapore, into the most ulu enclaves (Opera Estate, anyone?), people won’t need to drive.

    About cabs, my take is that they are not expensive enough! We need to weed out casual users. Those aunties who take cabs from their blocks to the market when they can just walk, or take the feeder bus, should not have the luxury of taking cabs. Taxi is NOT public transportation! It’s a rental-based ‘ahmad’ service. Look, if four people can jump into a cab, and the total fare is not much more than their individual fares on the train put together, of course people will use cabs! They need to be expensive so that only those who really need it will use it, and cabbies will want to pick people up cos’ it’s lucrative to do so, instead of waiting for calls. And the casual users will be forced to take REAL public transport (i.e. buses and trains), leaving the cabs free to pick up real users (i.e. those who need it for work and can claim for it).

    And I feel your pain with regards to driving into Shenton Way. I now work there as well! More on that another time… perhaps when we catch up over lunch, which will be very possible given our proximity. 🙂

  5. Ah, but that’s their master plan you see!


    To make sure there will be congestion, it is in their interest to keep the car population growing, and the available road low.

    If they are really interested in easing congestion, one of the thing that can be done is to build multi-storey roads like they have in Tokyo (I’ve seen some that go up to 3 levels). But why spend money when one can earn eh?

    They claimed that ERP gantries will only go up/be turned on where there is traffic congestion.

    High ERP charges on the current roads will divert more cars go to the adjoining (ERP-free) roads. Result? The adjoining roads get congested. Solution? New ERP gantries on those roads. Rinse and Repeat. Eventually most Singapore roads will have ERP gantries.

  6. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP is a way to integrate the data and processes of an organization into one single system. Usually ERP systems will have many components including hardware and software, in order to achieve integration, most ERP systems use a unified database to store data for various functions found throughout the organization. The term ERP originally referred to how a large organization planned to use organizational wide resources. In the past, ERP systems were used in larger more industrial types of companies. However, the use of ERP has changed and is extremely comprehensive, today the term can refer to any type of company, no matter what industry it falls in. In fact, ERP systems are used in almost any type of organization – large or small. In order for a software system to be considered ERP, it must provide an organization with functionality for two or more systems. While some ERP packages exist that only cover two functions for an organization (QuickBooks: Payroll & Accounting), most ERP systems cover several functions.

  7. Well, well, Mr Tan,

    to drive home the point…. driving home is the point of paying for evening ERP.

    I think ERP makes for an absolute jam of an idea.

Comments are closed.