Monday, March 28, 2005

We're Back!


We came back on Saturday, driving straight from Singapore. It rained all the way, from Johor to Klang Valley. It took us more than 4 hours to reach home. The roads were wet and slippery. On the way, we saw a few cars turn-turtle in the ditch.

The trip to Singapore was nice. I will blog about it when I got my photos downloaded. I was very impressed with their traffic management system. Fantastic! I will also blog about it later.

Previously I always have to worry about the ERP. As renting an IU device is troublesome, I always had to plan my trip and my route to avoid ERP gantries, to avoid being fine. The ERP is actually an automated toll collection system with a pay-as-you-use concept. They installed ERP gantries on the highways and on busy roads to scan for cars. For Singaporean cars, they have an IU device (In-vehicle Unit) installed in their car, with a cash card inserted into it. So everytime they passed the gantry, a certain amount (depending on the time of day) will be deducted from the cash card, just like SmartTag in Malaysia. Previously, for foreign cars, if you don't have an IU device in your car when you passed through the ERP gantry, your plate-number will be recorded by the CCTV. When you exit Singapore, you will be stopped and you will be given a hefty fine.

But not anymore!

Now you can passed through an ERP gantry without an IU device, and not worry being fined. The system will be intelligent enough to capture your car plate-number (registration number) and then linked it to your AutoPass. So that means, you will be paying the ERP charges when you exit Singapore through your Autopass.

FYI, the AutoPass is required for entry to Singapore. We 'clocked in' using the Autopass when we enter Singapore and we 'clocked out' when we exit Singapore. Then the VEP will be calculated for the number of days we stayed in Singapore (S$20 per day, FOC weekends and public holidays). Before we exit, we have to ensure that the amount in the AutoPass is enough for the VEP and the toll/ERP charges. The topup can be easily done in any 7-11 stores and in some shopping centres as well. The Autopass is valid for 5 years and once expired, simply present the card, your card insurance and your roadtax to LTA.

Also, they currently stationed an LTA officer (Land Transport Authority = JPJ) at the custom booth. So if you have problem with your card (broken card, lost card or card expired), you can settle it right there at the custom booth.

My Autopass card had expired and they asked for proof for valid insurance for my car. I can present my roadtax to them, which means I have to peel off that roadtax sticker from my windshield. But I doubted the roadtax is still in recognisable form if I do that. Or I can present my car registration certificate, which I did. I bought it along with me. Sudah biasa mah, I know their procedures.

But my only problem was the parking, especially in shopping complexes. Almost all shopping complexes employ cashless parking system. That means you pay using CashCard or Autopass. And some even use the automated IU. It gave me a scared, coz I was halfway into the parking building, when I saw the notice saying it uses IU system. "OMG! I don't have an IU!". Reversing back is a no-no, as there were cars behind and it's a one-way street. I proceeded to the gate and felt relieved when I saw "Non IU user, please press for card". Phew....! But still I paid using my Autopass.

I will be blogging about our trip to Singapore, especially the Zoo!! Stay tuned, ya!