Thursday, July 24, 2008

The average speed of money is inversely proportional to the average speed of time

Or something like that. I meant to say something profound, but only managed to confuse myself.

Anyway. Of late, I note that our rather earnest and well-meaning Land Transport Authority has increased the electronic road pricing yet again on the basis that the average speeds of motor vehicles on the priced roads are still very low during peak hours. I'm not a rocket scientist, but as an avid peak-hour motorist, I would like to offer up some suggestions as to how this logic could possibly be flawed. And by "flawed", I mean "wrong", like "crazy-insanely-wrong", or like "you-are-dreaming-wrong".

A car can move slowly on the road for a number of reasons, even if the road is an expressway or a major road. From just today's travelling experience, I can confirm that the cars around our car moved slowly for the following reasons:

1. The driver is picking his nose. Once the finger goes up the nose, the foot will relax on the accelerator. This was the sad plight of the cab driver in front of our car at the Marine Parade stretch of the ECP. My husband thinks it could be an Asian thing. I would respectfully suggest that this does not happen in the America because their noses are so big that everything heavier than a strand of hair will simply fall out by itself.

2. The driver is staring at some chick who is standing on the pavement. Moments earlier, we almost crashed into the back of a Mercedes Benz whose driver was observing a female pedestrian bending to pick up something from the ground.

3. The driver's mouth is open. This one I really couldn't figure out. I mean, he was driving slowly across 2 lanes and when we finally overtook him, I looked over to see what the hell this person was doing, and he was just looking off to the side with his mouth open. There was no obvious reason for his terrifyingly bad driving, so I have no choice but to conclude that he cannot drive properly with his mouth open.

4. The female driver is putting on makeup. You can't be too careful with this. Sometimes you get to the Expressway just as you are trying to put the foundation under your eye or trying to line your lips with lip pencil. Screw this up and you exit the car looking like Chocho-san from Madame Butterfly. Since I do this everyday in the car as a front seat passenger, I can't really poke fun.

But the biggest reason is...

5. It is 9.22am and there is no Mata standing at the ERP Gantry. Now anyone will know that this deadly combination is FATAL to promoting traffic speeds. The ERP rate from 9am - 9.25am is higher than the ERP rate from 9.25am - 9.30am. This means that all cars approaching the ERP Gantry at 9.22am will do everything short of coming to a complete halt just before the Gantry. If you look over to see what the road looks like after the Gantry, you will see that it is empty, whereas the road before the Gantry is packed chockablock with cars much like a valet car park lot. All drivers unfortunate enough to make it across the Gantry just moments before 9.25 am just think "OFUCKIT!!!!!", slam on the accelerator and speed off. Whereas everyone before the Gantry is still hopeful of beating the clock. Which is also probably why the digital clocks in Singaporean cars are so accurate. Screw with the time on that clock and it will cost you up to S$1.50 per Gantry.

But I digress. My point is, if the LTA is measuring vehicle speeds before and just under the Gantry, then even when the ERP has gone up to S$1000000, they will still, amazingly, puzzlingly, measure exactly the same vehicle speed. Which would be about 15 - 25 km per hour. Because that's probably as slow as you can go without actually stopping on the Expressway. If they really want to know how fast the cars are really moving, they should track vehicle speeds along that part of the ECP or West Coast Highway where there are no speed detectors and no ERP Gantries in the vicinity. Some of the drivers along that stretch could well be practising for their inaugural F1 appearance.


At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What probably goes on in a Singaporean politician's mind....

The roads are getting jammed, and congestion's all over the island.

" can the government make money out of this?"

Prices are rising. People have less and less disposable salaries.

" can the government make money out of this?"

MRT's getting packed. There's no chance to find a seat during peak hours, and even at non peak hours there's a buttload of people on each MRT.

" can the government make money out of this?"

Some monk is pocketing charity money! That's not right for a monk to do!

" can the government make money out of this?"

There's too many immigrants nowadays. You can see a China/Indian/Filipino national every two steps you take.

" can the government make money out of this?"

Properly phrased, that would have been great satire and comedy in a country that practises free speech. Unfortunately, Singapore doesn't. Too bad.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Fore! said...

Actually, scientific evidence shows that the best way to slow traffic down is to put up a sign saying "Caution: Nudist Colony Ahead".

At 9:03 AM, Blogger monkey girl said...

I'm glad I wasn't just a confused expat, because I truly never understood the traffic jams before the ERP gantries. Yes, I get that everyone is trying to save some cash, but come on!!! I saw so many accidents of drivers slamming on their brakes to pull over before the gantry. Was the 3-9cents worth that?

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