Cars in Singapore are getting more expensive, as well as restrictive. One of the solutions would be to give up the car and switch to public transport, but that would be the last alternative if owning a car ever gets beyond my means. If I had to choose between sitting in my car during a traffic jam and squeezing in a train or bus with others, I would take the former anytime.
Parking rates are getting more expensive, ERP rates are increasing, and I did consider taking public transport but unless I really have to, I will not give up my car. It’s not about being silly or arrogant; it’s about valuing my personal space. When you’re within the confines of your own car, it feels like you’re in your own world away from the others, though the next car is probably just inches from you.
I admit it is a pain to get stuck in a traffic jam for hours, inching and crawling through a journey that would usually take only minutes in clear traffic. So whenever I am stuck in a jam, I will lessen my frustrations by telling myself that I’m in a better place than being squashed on a train amid sweaty bodies. While the latter may get me to my destination on time, I would still prefer to be in the comfort of my own car.
There are friends of mine who have sold off their cars recently because of the rising costs of ownership and maintenance. They could continue to keep their cars but they preferred not to, citing the substantial monetary savings that they would get from giving up their cars. It helps that their houses and offices have MRT stations nearby, so it just means having to wake up earlier every day. They do miss having a car sometimes, especially on the weekends, but they just don’t see the point of paying so much for something that they can do without.
Don’t judge me – I can do without a car as well, we all can. However, the freelance nature of my job requires me to move around quite a bit since I’m not bound to a desk and I’m a person who believes in efficiency. For example, with a car I can probably get six meetings done in a day, but if I were to take public transport, I may only be able to do half of that. Also, there isn’t a MRT station near my place, nor a direct bus to a MRT station from my place.
Then there is the group of people who still have their cars but opt to take public transport when they can. My parents for example, leave the car at home and take the bus if they are in not in a rush for time. Then again, they are semi-retired, so their lives are a lot slower than mine and they are pretty contented taking the bus or train at non-peak hours.
It will take a lot for me to give up my car and switch to public transport, but that’s because I treat the car as an extension of myself. It is more than just a mere mode of transport and I appreciate the convenience and efficiency I can derive from having it. No doubt maintaining the car is a huge never-ending bill, especially in Singapore, and there is a whole set of challenges you have to face from driving, but I will not give up my car unless I really am faced with no choice.
*This was first published on STCars.sg