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Tuas Checkpoint / photo by YX Lee

Toll evasion of about $12 million a year: Ministries not working together?

In a Straits Times report dated 20 November (Monday), it is reported that a new system to be implemented at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints by next year will help the authorities detect and nab motorists who do not pay their tolls and fees.

It is reported that the estimated annual revenue loss from toll evasion is 8 percent of the total amount of tolls and fees collected at the two land checkpoints based on an analysis of data from March to May last year. This amounts to a sum of about $12 million, out of an annual average of $150 million collected in the past three years.

In the current system, it is up to motorists to pay the tolls when they pull up at immigration booths to have their passports inspected and they pay by inserting their CashCards or Autopass cards into payment machines placed outside the booths.

Meanwhile, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore officers stationed in the booths are responsible only for the immigration and security clearance of the travellers and the barriers are lifted when they are done.

Under the new system, motorists will get ample warning to pay the tolls. There will be a delay before the barriers are lifted with an accompanying audio message reminder if payment is not made.

Subsequently, on-duty enforcement officers from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be alerted if motorists still fail to pay.

Some readers commented that it should have been an easy problem to solve, citing the practice by the Malaysia authority and the ERP system.

Alvin Foo Siang Hai wrote, "The Malaysian side doing better than us. If you do not pay the Malaysian toll at the immigration, the gantry won't open even if the officer is done with the stamping of the passport. Isn't that simpler than having an audio recording."

Freddie Kie wrote, 'Dear Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Hq, do the low cost implementation used at car parks island wide. Do not open the barrier /gantry if the toll is not paid."

Fadzly Ishak wrote, "This part LTA become bodoh. You either use ERP system or HDB Car Park. Even our Malaysia neighbour got Touch and Go. So many years and now kpkb."

Kee Yong Ping wrote, "Very simple. If you want to ensure all the driver to pay tolls, please make sure your barrier open after they paid the tolls. Now as you can see even they never paid for the tolls, the barrier also open just after the passport clearance. Some officer will remind you, some officer act like do not know anything. In Malaysia, if you never pay tolls, barrier forever never open."

Ismail Farouk wrote, "Why can't it be if never pay the toll then the barrier wont open.The same like in Malaysia. They are so much better. Waiting to catch offenders in paying fines to create more dollars. Please, I guess it's a primary school implementation."

Rambo Rambo wrote, "A simple thing make until so difficult. Just implement the carpark EPS system. Either automatically deduct from IU or tap on card reader."

Trevor Soon wrote, "This should not be a problem in the first place. We should be talking about more important issue like the MRT?"

Ah Soh wrote, "How come our brains are not equal to them? Common sense will tell us not to open the barriers when didn't pay tolls. No need a PHD, do we?"

Zhi Ming Ng wrote, "Why is it so difficult to tie payment to the gantry barrier? Are you trying to say ministries/stat boards cannot work together?"

Jimmy Soon wrote, "Any reason why ICA is not using the LTA -ERP system to collect this fee?"