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ERP, IU, CashCard, AutoPass Card, ICP, Parking Coupons and other vehicle-related money-mangling items

For permanent residents, car ownership in Singapore is not cheap. For foreign visitors, it's also expensive, but it is not as horrific as for the local guys.

Coincidence it may be, but two of the most organised nations in the world, Switzerland and Singapore, both sport some of the most extortionate road costs on the planet.

There is one difference though. The Swiss, while wrapping their policies in an eco-green camouflage, charge just to provide the government with pocket-money. The Singaporeans on the other hand MUST have high charges and controls to prevent the whole island from turning into a car park. Doubtless, the locals may view it differently, but when seen from the outside, the balance is correct.

ERP, IU and CashCard
Singaporean vehicles are fitted with an In-Vehicle Unit: the IU. Pictured bottom-left, this device is installed by a govt-approved workshop. You insert a CashCard (a smart card), into which you've already deposited bucketloads of your hard earned cash.

Every time you pass under one of the "gantries" (pictured top-left), depending on the time of day, money is electronically deducted from your CashCard.

Offical printed information says that "...
all vehicles (including foreign registered) are required to be fitted with an IU." However, the Land Transport Authority (LTA - the very nice people who control all things vehicular in Singapore) told me that I had the option of fitting one or not.

I presume the "discrepancy" between the printed and verbal instructions is to prevent system-avoidance by Singaporeans using Malaysian-registered vehicles; drawing a distinction between cross-Johor Straits vehicles, and further-travelled foreign vehicles.

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