The COE was introduced as a measure to control the number of vehicles on the roads. The ERP on the other hand was introduced to shape traffic conditions.
Both are useful tools, no doubt, but how effective are they if not in the right hands?
The purpose of the COE is simple. If the roads here can handle 200,000 vehicles and currently there are 180,000 vehicles on the roads and 10,000 more are scheduled to be de-registered by the next COE bidding exercise, then only 30,000 COE should release by then.
By this logic and with all the tools and statistics available, LTA should be able to make sound judgment whether to increase or decrease the number of vehicles on the roads by manipulating the amount of COE to be released in the next exercise. In other words, the roads here should not be congested. When that is achieved, the implementation and usage of the COE has achieved its objective.
Now, say certain stretch of roads are congested even when the above is achieved. This can happen because a large number of motorist prefer to use some stretch of roads more than the others. When the situation is as such, ERP is the right tool after no other solutions like road widening or building of additional alternative routes, could solve the congestion. By implementing the ERP on that stretch of road, it will disperse the motorist around.
Logic is simple - there are more than enough roads, don't just use this stretch. Spread out.
But what happens when ALL the roads congested? How and where else can motorist spread out to? This happens when the number of vehicles keep increasing despite the roads here unable to take in the increase as a result of improper implementation of the COE that in the end simply becomes a source of tax revenue.
With the roads unable to cope with the increase of vehicles, ERP will not help in any way whatsoever because there are no where else to spread the motorist around. So the gantries are there simply to collect payment because motorists have no other alternatives, except to not drive their vehicle.
Is the CTE still congested? Yes. Is the ERP still there? Yes. Has the increase solve the problem? No.
There are just too many vehicles on the road and this is the problem that should be tackled right from the start. That however is now much harder to do because of the flawed way the COE bidding exercise have been carried out all these while. Simply put, it is not possible, one day, to have no COE to be bid for. Too many parties now will be affected if that day comes.
When the COE system was implemented, it was meant to control the number of people buying their own private vehicles and hence free the roads up.
Then the ERP was implemented to spread motorist around and hence free up congested roads.
Now the ERP charges and the number of gantries keep increasing because more and more roads are congested.
What is the next step of action with the failure of both tools? - Not all vehicle owners can drive as and when they want.
So motorist were made to pay for the COE because that will allow the car to be driven around but now told to keep it at home.
Best sales job ever.