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Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)
In the past, Singaporeans would complain about very high car prices and no one could fault them as Singapore cars were one of the world's most expensive. Just imagine that in the 90s, a brand new Toyota Corolla would have cost you a hefty US$50,000.
So how do we try to keep Singaporeans quiet albeit unhappiness still prevails? Build a electronic toll system called the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) that charges by the usage. While car prices have seen some reduction (Toyota Corollas cost US$35,000 now), maintenance and daily cost for using the car has sky-rocketed.
There are now more than 60 ERP gantries in Singapore, ranging from those located in and around the Central Business District (CBD) and city area, to literally every expressway in Singapore.
The toll charges also differ, ranging from a mere S$0.50 to S$5 per gantry. So if you're renting a car in Singapore, do remember to ask for a cashcard when you rent a car. Also, try not to travel during the peak hours. i.e. 8-9am, 6-8pm as that's when the toll charges are the highest!
Driving from the Causeway from Malaysia
It is easy to drive across the Johor-Singapore Causeway from Johor Bahru, Malaysia to Woodlands, Singapore. The distance is about 1 kilometer.
If you are driving a Malaysian car, make sure you have your car registration paper as well that you have not exceeded the maximum number of days allowed for a Malaysian car to drive into Singapore. If you do have yet, at the Singapore side, you will then purchase a top up prepaid card that covered the charge of how many days in Singapore, toll charged on certain roads at certain times and you can use the card for car park too.
The causeway can be a short 10 minutes drive if traffic is light. Find out from the locals the jam hours to avoid especially on working days and office hours.
There are also many buses and taxis and even the train that will take you across the Causeway if you rather not drive.
My favorite way of getting into Singapore is to drive. Be sure your car has a valid road tax and insurance coverage. Inform the immigration officer at Woodlands if you are driving in the car for the first time. He'll direct you to Block B of the checkpoint where the Land and Transport Authority (LTA) office is located. Fill in a form and pay $10 for an Autopass card. This is the prepaid card which you'll use each time to clock-in and clock-out of Singapore when you drive.
When you first purchase the card, there will be a $4 value in it. You can top up the value at most 7-elevens or petrol kiosk. There is a $1.20 toll when you leave Singapore through Woodlands.
There are no ERP charges on Sundays and ERP only applies on Orchard Road on Saturdays. At other time various roads will have ERP. You'll be charged a flat rate of $5 for an unlimited usage of ERP roads if you happen to pass any gantry during operation hours.
There is a $20/day vehicle entry permit charges beginning 2am Monday till 5 pm Friday. Make sure you have enough balance in the card to cover all these charges! For more details, get a booklet at the LTA office when you purchase the Autopass.
The Autopass card can also be used to pay for parking charges at most complexes.
Note: Singaporeans & PR holders are not allowed to drive a foreign-registered car in Singapore! (Some Singaporeans are not aware of this fact too!)
Cheapest Place to Park
Driving around Singapore is pleasant and easy. Signboards are clear and traffic is orderly. But parking is expensive. To know where to park with the best rates, check out this website:
Parking rates change from time-to-time so keep yourself updated with the above website and you won't be caught paying huge parking fees.
Roads of Singapore
Driving around the roads of Singapore is easy and relaxing.
The road signs are big and everything is standardized in size.
Many of the roads have big trees which are pruned and well taken care.
Only thing is for a non-local, there is the ERP where extra charges depending on time, is quite confusing to a tourist.
The names of the roads are also varied and hard to pronounce. But I recognize "Penang Road"
If you're planning to drive into Singapore from Malaysia, expect a delay. The Woodland's border crossing is the shortest way into Singapore from Malaysia, but is often congested with traffic to and fro.
Car rental is very expensive, may not be practical
In many countries, I like to rent cars. I like to freedom of going anywhere at anytime. I also like to drive.
However, in Singapore, driving is not necessary and, while not scary, does not seem fun. Parking is not easy (but not that difficult). The MRT or taxi is often just as fast. In Los Angeles, it is much cheaper to rent a car then take a taxi (car rental might cost US$30 and one taxi ride may be almost that much or higher). In Singapore, it may cost SGD $150 to rent a car but taxi fare may be $10-15. There is also road toll (ERP) in the central part of the city, paid for by using a special card. If you evade the toll, a camera takes a picture of the car.
Petrol is roughly the same price as in the UK. They have 98 and 95 octane.
Car owners have to pay quite a bit. There are a lot of abbreviations that only a Singaporean would know, such as OMV (open market value), COE (certificate of entitlement: bid that you have to make in order to buy a car), etc. Car prices are so high that my guess is that a Honda Accord would possibly cost SGD $100 000 and a Volvo S60 $200 000. In the US, one of the cheapest country for cars, the cheapest Honda Accord is probably $18 000 (SGD $30 000).
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heheheh unless u have nerves of steel n patience. dun really recommend coz u might get irritated by the number of traffic lights we have :p
driving is pretty ok. but the traffic lights can be daunting. parking can be a real scare as u will need cashcard plus there r ERP zones.
our road abbreviations r astounding :p CTE PIE BKE KJE etc :p
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