Online users raise privacy concerns with the soon-to-be implemented satellite distance-based ERP

Come 2020, the old Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system will be replaced with a new one that will charge motorists based on the distance they travel on congested road, instead of the flat-fee that they currently pay.

This can be done as motorists will be charged using an advanced satellite system with this new ERP system.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) told The Straits Times that the existing ERP in-vehicle units (IUs) will be replaced with new on-board units (OBUs) in stages from 2020.

It is said that in term of size, OBU will bigger than the current IU as it will show more information like charges given to motorists for a particular journey.

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According to LTA, the new OBUs will offer motorists more “value-added” services which include:

  • Automatic payment for Off-Peak Cars usage;
  • Electronic payment for roadside parking;
  • Electronic payment for checkpoint tolls; and
  • Provision of relevant real-time traffic information tailored to one’s location

Upon full installation of the distance-based charging system in the whole of Singapore, about 80 ERP gantries will be removed. However, the current and new ERP system will co-exist during the transition period.

As for the transition period, it will most likely take more than a year, and about one million OBUs will be installed in vehicles.

The first replacement most probably will take place at vehicle inspection centres and appointed workshops, and will be free of charge.

Upon reading this new announcement, netizens raised their concerns on privacy issues that this new satellite-based ERP will cause.

Commenting on Mothership’s and ST‘s Facebook pages, they said that the Government will now know the whereabouts of all vehicles due to its GPS tracking system.

Others added that this system may cause motorists more money as they will now have to pay just to go somewhere nearby like to the supermarket. People who stay far will also have to suffer as distance-based charges will badly affect them. Since the Government has been pushing citizens to “live in far flung areas” this will be unfair to them.

Others were totally unimpressed with the Government’s move as they are not doing anything to ease the citizens’ high cost of living. They added that instead of trying to hike Singaporeans’ salary to meet the country’s demands, the Government is doing all in their power “to make more money” for themselves.