Following the statement from Land Transport Authority (LTA) which says that it will be simplifying the TA framework from 1 January 2017, one of the taxi drivers, Jason Choo, wrote on Singapore Taxi Driver Facebook account his question regarding the ERP charging on taxi.
He questioned the Government on the regulation which obliges taxi drivers to pay for the ERP as the Government has concluded taxis as being a form of public transport.
"If there isn't ERP for Taxi, more taxis will go into town to pick passengers during afternoon and evening while the ERP is in operation. Afternoon ERP as high as $2 and evening around $3. Taxi Driver will need to incur this cost if they want fetch passengers in town. Is it logical? That why passengers always can't get taxi at certain timing," he wrote.
Then he added, "Then passengers who are taking taxi as a public transport traveling to town for work don't need to pay as well."
His fellow taxi drivers who responded to his questions, and the response were split. Some agreed with his concern while some do not.
Ivan Lee commented by saying that taxi is not a public transport. He suggested Mr Jason to check the meaning. he even said that the lecturer even told the students that taxi is actually not a public transport because taxi do not follow a specific road n timing.
However, Mr Jason responded by posting a picture of LTA website that put the announcement under Public Transport section.
Roy Yue also said that taxi is not a public transport. He said that, worldwide, if someone to travel extensively in large country, even taxi pay highway toll. He also said that taxi consist of a large vehicle population in Singapore. And he also noted that to not charge ERP is very unwise if you put yourself in the government shoe and the economy.
Ejen Fiz Kafi Lariz said that ERP is set up to deter vehicles from driving into the restricted areas during peak hours and to avoid congestion. He noted that if it is free for taxis, CBD areas going to be congested with taxis like Orchard Rd during Christmas season.
In a previous posting, Taxi driver, Randy Sky Ivan said that Central Business District (CBD) area shortage of cab because of the ERP charger. But Thomas Tan disagreed saying that there are many reasons. Noting that not all taxi drivers like to cramp. "If you at the wrong place at wrong time, could take up 5 to 15 minutes, that really a waste of precious time. Furthermore, CBD so many traffic lights.
On 16 Sept 2013, Non-constiunecy Member of Parliament Ms Lina Chiam asked the former Minister for Transport Mr Lui Tuck Yew whether taxis that are not carrying passengers can be exempted from ERP charges so as to incentivise them to enter the Central Business District to pick up passengers.
In his response, Mr Lui said, "Taxis are subject to ERP charges as they take up road space and contribute to congestion just like other vehicles.
To encourage taxis to enter the Central Business District (CBD), taxi companies have introduced the City Area Surcharge for trips originating from the CBD. This surcharge applies every day during the evening peak period between 5pm and midnight. In addition, Comfort and CityCab reimburse their drivers for the CBD ERP charges if they are unable to pick up a passenger within 15 minutes of entering the CBD empty during the evening peak period.
We will continue to monitor the taxi situation, including in key areas such as the CBD, and where necessary, we will see how we can refine our policies and regulatory framework to ensure a good match of supply and demand."
Subsequently in 2016, Member of Parliament, Er Dr Lee Bee Wah asked the current Minister for Transport, Khaw Boon Wan whether the proposed 2020 island-wide ERP system will result in a system where ERP is based on road usage during office hours. And if so, whether there are plans to review the annual road tax and COE system to offset any additional costs to motorists under the new system; and what is the implication for transport operators of goods lorries, taxis, movers and delivery businesses.
Mr Khaw replied the MP by saying, "While the next generation Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system allows for island-wide coverage, the current policy intent is to price only congested roads. The technology of the new system will allow us to implement this congestion pricing on a distance-travelled basis, which will be fairer to motorists. For example, motorists who travel the full stretch of a congested road can be charged more than those who travel, say, only a part of it. It is, however, too early to talk about its impact on different motorists and if we should adjust any existing tax policy."