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Netizens identify lack of inclusivity in OBU design saga despite LTA’s latest update

Despite LTA’s update on ERP 2.0 OBU, netizens remain dissatisfied with the current design, highlighting a lack of inclusivity. Motorists feel compelled to accept it without alternatives.



Following backlash from motorists, The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore on Thursday (2 May) released an update on the improvements to the new On-Board Unit (OBU) for the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP 2.0) system.

Since its initial deployment in August 2023 with over 18,000 vehicles now equipped, the system has undergone several modifications based on feedback from early adopters.

The LTA’s efforts aim to enhance user choice, convenience, and safety, addressing some of the critical issues that have sparked significant public dissatisfaction.

Key enhancements announced on Thursday (2 May) include eliminating the need for motorists to remove their CEPAS card from the OBU while driving or when entering and exiting car parks, thus addressing a primary safety concern.

The LTA also emphasized the flexibility in the installation of the processing unit and touchscreen display, allowing vehicle owners to choose locations within their vehicles that suit their needs and preferences.

Netizens identify lack of inclusivity in OBU design saga

The introduction of the ERP 2.0 system has been met with robust criticism over the OBU’s initial design, which many motorists found inconvenient and potentially unsafe due to the placement of the card reader.

After reviewing comments on both the LTA and CNA’s Facebook pages, it is evident that many netizens are still dissatisfied with LTA’s decision to persist with the bulky three-piece design instead of reverting to the one-piece IU unit used in the previous version, which was deemed satisfactory by many motorists.

Netizens suggest that the prevailing sentiment indicates a lack of inclusivity in the current process. Users feel they are left with no choice but to accept the design as it stands.

When one netizen questioned whether the new OBU processing unit is less heat-resistant than the previous version, LTA commented that the two devices are quite different.

According to LTA, the IU is a passive device that is only activated when passing through ERP or carpark gantries, whereas the OBU is an active device with more functionalities and capabilities than an IU.

Advocate for more compact OBU design

A comment advocated for a more compact OBU design, pointing out that modern cars are now crafted to incorporate numerous in-car features seamlessly.

This observation reflects a growing sentiment that the existing OBU design imposes an additional burden on users who already invest significantly in their vehicles.

“We pay a huge premium already to own cars. This feels very forced and users have no choice but to accept. Not very inclusive process. ” the comment wrote.

When certain netizens argued that the screen could pose a distraction and suggested forgoing it altogether, LTA clarified that the touchscreen is optional as motorists are free to choose not to have it installed if they prefer.

Motorists: “Current IU just working fine”

While some motorists contend that the current IU functionality is sufficient and question the need for change, LTA defends the transition to ERP 2.0, emphasizing its reliance on the Global Navigation Satellite System for improved traffic data collection to enhance congestion management and transport planning.

In response, a netizen urges LTA to address safety concerns regarding the new design, particularly its placement at the passenger’s seat, deeming it unacceptable and posing serious risks.

The netizen advocates for reverting to the old design until the issues are resolved, emphasizing the importance of addressing driver feedback and not rushing the implementation of ineffective solutions.

“Knee-jerk reactions” in addressing motorist feedback

Commenting on CNA’s Facebook page, a netizen criticized LTA’s approach to addressing motorist feedback as “knee-jerk reactions.”

Expressing disappointment, the netizen felt that LTA was merely trying to pacify the public without resolving fundamental issues, such as reducing the operation temperature of the processing unit and making it compact enough to fit as a single unit on the dashboard.

Another comment on LTA’s actions suggests that their attempts to incentivize drivers appear to be a superficial solution, rather than addressing the root cause of the issue.

The comment expressed scepticism that LTA is unwilling to acknowledge its mistakes, likening the situation to a previous error with the SimplyGo saga.

Meanwhile, some expressed disagreement with installing the new OBU on their car until a more practical design becomes available.

They urged authorities to cease allocating resources to outdated setups and questioned the accountability in the decision-making process.

Public petition urges LTA to reevaluate implementation of controversial OBU for ERP 2.0

Earlier, a citizen-led petition on, initiated on 21 April by Mike Lim, called for LTA to halt and reevaluate the newly implemented OBU design of the ERP 2.0 system.

According to Mike Lim, an early adopter of the new OBU, “The placement of card readers under passenger seats is not only uncomfortable but also poses a safety risk. Drivers are forced to reach under the seat to access their cash cards, which is hazardous, especially when a gantry fails to read the card.”

This sentiment is echoed by over 2,600 signatories who have voiced their dissatisfaction with the design, criticizing it for prioritizing technological advancement over practicality and safety.

In a recent update, Mike Lim expressed gratitude for the growing support of the petition, suggesting that it may have prompted LTA to clarify that the OBU unit can be installed on the driver’s side.

However, Lim noted that while this option exists, many car models lack the required hard surface for mounting, as installation is typically done via double-sided tape. Consequently, some models may still necessitate OBU installation on the passenger side.

Nevertheless, Lim acknowledged the importance of LTA’s clarification on this matter.’

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No need KPKB lah, all this noise about design and size and why must change. Basically you are disrupting the MIW cash cow units. Any form of dissent from the public will not be tolerated by the Lords of the red dot.
In other words, how I take your money from you is not your concern.

CB Hong is NOT listening,he behaves exactly like what he did in the GE like – snatching the ,microphone
before his fellow candidate finish speaking = like a “YEOWKWEE” only his voice counts!!!!! Another Chiak liou bee papaee minister.

fight on…just love watching the pariahs show of the island..nice..

This again shows our scholars’ “We know what we are doing, we don’t need the Commoners’ input” mentality. The greatest FAILURE was to design the MRT stations to exactly take 10 carriages in length. With the increased population, there is NO WAY to increase the length of each train by adding say 2-4 carriages during peak hours; instead must run 10-carriage trains at tighter intervals. This cause the increased cost (hence fare prices), signal problems, more drivers/staff, inefficiency (eg: a 14-carriage train may be sufficient during peaks, but instead need to run two 10-carriage trains), more maintenance, etc. So, this… Read more »

LTA scholars may have thought they squeezed a good deal out of the vendor, little did they realised the vendor themselves also gave them what they “paid” for. Perhaps just like SimplyGo if you need a change request, another $40 million will be needed. So LTA is going to “persuade” motorists to simply accept the OBU, like it or not.

Driver: Hi, baby. Can you help me to insert my…..?
Driver’s wife or gf, who is the front passenger: Oh, you are very naughty. But I am most willing. I love it, baby. This is so exciting. It is so thrilling. My first time doing inside the car. I’m ready now, baby. Don’t you have to cover up all the windows?
Driver: What for covering up the windows?! This is my cash card. Thank you.
Wife/Gf: Nahbey.