Thursday, February 12, 2009

Changes to OPC rules

LTA is considering to reduce if not totally remove restriction for off-peak cars on Saturdays. They are also considering doing away with paper coupons and implement an electronic payments system instead.

Both the above are very much welcomed.

OPC owners have been requesting for the restrictions to be lifted since LTA did the same for the VEP on Saturdays for foreign registered cars. Surely one of the main reasons for implementing such change in 2005 was due to the roads on Saturdays able to handle increased traffic as a result of the government pushing for 5 days work week. The reason why such restrictions cannot be lifted for OPC because it will worsen the congestion on the roads is no longer valid.

With such changes, is it expected that OPC will gain more popularity and possibly add to the already bad traffic. How true is that?

Drivers know that roads here are jammed up in the morning around 7am to 9:30am and in the evening around 7pm to 8:30pm. The morning jams are mostly attributed to parents sending their kids to school before the themselves head to work. This is fact because during school holidays, the roads are clear. Probably parents either drive to work later or they decided to take public transport. The evening jams, in the reverse order, are caused by drivers returning home from work.

Therefore even with an increase in OPCs in the future, it should not have an adverse effect on the morning traffic as OPCs cannot be driven after 7am, before the real jam starts.

As for the evening jams, OPC cars made up for 7.7% of the 500,000 cars here. That is about 40,000. Even if all of them ply the roads at the same time, it is still 7.7% compared to the other 93.7% non-OPCs out there. In fact, most OPCs are parked at home and only driven on weekends. Therefore even if the number increases but with most parked at home on weekdays, nothing much will change.

Same goes for Saturdays as the traffic conditions on Saturdays are no where as bad as on weekdays. With the restrictions on Saturday lifted, situation should be pretty much the same.

Having more OPCs simply means less non-OPCs. If the COE is properly implemented, it makes no difference what type of cars are there on the roads.

No comments: