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Why do I have to pay ERP charges to leave Orchard

Have you ever wondered why you need to pay ERP charges when you pass the gantry at Handy Road? Many motorists are still puzzled even after this gantry has been put up more than a year ago. 

There are two simple answers to your questions:
Because you are 'entering' the CBD cordon (and not 'leaving' the Orchard cordon), or / and
Because the gantry discourages motorists from using Orchard Road as a thoroughfare to other destinations in the city area.

The Orchard cordon and the CBD cordon

Orchard Road is Singapore's premier shopping belt. The traffic patterns along Orchard Road are different from those in the rest of the CBD, hence the gantry at Handy Road serves to demarcate these two areas. The ERP charge that you pay at this gantry is not for leaving the Orchard cordon, but for entering the CBD. Prinsep Street and Selegie Road are part of the CBD cordon as they have been since the Restricted Zone days.

Motorists using Orchard as a thoroughfare to other destinations

The majority of the traffic in Orchard comprised shoppers bound for the establishments in Orchard area. However, before the Handy Road gantry was put up, more than 30% of the motorists were just using Orchard Road as a shortcut to get to outlying areas like Little India and the CBD. With the new gantry, the 'through traffic' has dropped. Both the local shoppers and tourists are now able to enjoy a less polluted environment and a smoother traveling experience in Orchard.

If you want to avoid paying ERP charges when leaving Orchard...

There are many exits that you can take to avoid the ERP charges at Handy Road. The picture below gives you an overview: