Car Ownership Struggles in Singapore

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay 1 Comment

Owning a car in Singapore now is getting to a point as tough as asking my grandfather to climb Mount Everest. I can’t even begin how horrible the conditions are – high COE prices, higher ERP prices, stricter loan regulations.

I came across this letter on Facebook addressed to a Mr. XXX from “a very disgruntled and upset middle-income Singapore citizen” and I thought it summed up the situation quite well.

Here’s the letter from Mr Thomas Choo:

Dear Mr. XXX,

I have been wanting to get this off my chest for quite sometime now but sadly couldn’t as I have been busy tending to my family needs until I saw the latest COE prices which prompted me to do so.

Have you ever wondered are your so-called policies effective in keeping the car population at a manageable level? I seriously do not think so. Look at your measures taken so far, increase COE prices, increase ERP prices, implement new car loan policies etc etc. Is any of them effective at all?

Look at the COE prices now. Despite the fact they are at ridiculous levels now, people are still buying new cars without batting an eyelid. Especially the rich where COE prices are not even in their equation, be it 10k or 100k.

You then increase ERP prices, hoping to keep our roads smooth-flowing, especially during peak hours. Has it worked? Not only our roads are still congested, people are flaring up more due to the constant jams now. Tempers fray, people get more impatient, road rage occurs, accidents happen more frequently.

Thereafter you came up with the brilliant idea of imposing new car loan policies whereby potential car buyers had to fork out at least half of the car’s value in cold hard cash. All these in an attempt to keep away people from buying cars. What has it done in the end? Your wonderful idea caused a lot of used car dealers to go bust as all their cars were stuck in their showrooms, gathering cobwebs in the process.

Now, a car has been put out of reach among many people, especially those from the lower and middle income groups. Some of these people I know really need one, be it for work, family or other purposes. Sadly, due to your measures, they are unable to afford one now, even a bread and butter model in the market. The funny thing is, you guys keep complaining our birth rate is at an all-time low, we are not getting married and starting a family but hey, have you ever tried taking public transport with 2 kids, 2 strollers and other barang barangs in tow? Their cash has been reserved for family needs, where to find an extra 50k to place as downpayment for a car? Makes sense, no?

The general public’s resentment is clear for all to see. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know this. Heck, I don’t even know whether in a few years’ time, do I have the means to extend my COE or do I have to end up sending my very well-maintained car to the scrapyard if the COE prices maintain at the same rate as they are now? The thought is mind-boggling, to say the least.

Oh ya, and before you tell us not to keep complaining and help to think of solutions instead of running our country down, please be reminded that the one earning a million dollars salary is YOU, not us. If we need to help you think of solutions then what are you here for?

Last but not least, if you can’t even control the car population now, what makes you think you can do so when you welcome 6.9 million people to our tiny island in 2030?

A very disgruntled and visibly upset middle-income citizen

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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