Slashing car growth to 0% will only breed resentment and divide the haves and have-nots: Ex-NMP asserts

3481

Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on 23 Oct that the growth rate for COEs for cars and motorcycles will be cut from the current 0.25% per annum to 0%, with effect from February 2018 until at least 2020.

The LTA said in a press release on its website that the decision to cut the growth rate for cars and motorcycles was made because “in view of land constraints and competing needs, there is limited scope for further expansion of the road network.”

It added that public transport will step up and that the government has set aside a whopping $28 billion dollars to improve the public transport system:

“LTA will continue to improve our public transport system. Over the past six years, we have expanded our rail network significantly, growing the rail network length by 30% and adding a total of 41 new stations. Through the $1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme and Bus Contracting Model, we have added new routes and injected greater capacity into the bus network while raising service levels. The Government will continue to invest $20 billion in new rail infrastructure, $4 billion to renew, upgrade and expand rail operating assets, and another $4 billion in bus contracting subsidies over the next five years to improve public transport.”

While the LTA made clear that the growth cut is “not expected to significantly affect the supply of COEs as the COE quota is determined largely by the number of vehicle deregistrations,” news of the growth cut has been met with some criticism online.

Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng has asserted that because of the growth cut, “cars will, because they can only be afforded by the well-to-do, become even more of a status symbol. They will become an obvious symbol of a class-divide. The masses take public transport, whilst the minority elite drive their own private cars. This cannot be healthy for a society, as it will breed resentment and division. We cannot have a society polarised by class, between the haves and have-nots.”

We re-publish his criticism of LTA’s decision in full here:

If the car population is not allowed to grow, whilst the general population of Singapore increases, it means that a smaller and smaller proportion of people will own cars.

Although it is a laudable aim to go car-lite, I fear that this, coupled with COEs auctioned-off to those who can pay, will have harmful social consequences, EVEN IF public transport were perfect (it isn’t).

Cars will, because they can only be afforded by the well-to-do, become even more of a status symbol. They will become an obvious symbol of a class-divide. The masses take public transport, whilst the minority elite drive their own private cars. This cannot be healthy for a society, as it will breed resentment and division. We cannot have a society polarised by class, between the haves and have-nots.

Because the vast majority of the population will not have private cars, car owners will also be tangibly better-off. Less crowded roads, nicer drives, faster journeys. That means, that not only do they possess a status symbol, the well-to-do ACTUALLY are better off than the everyone else who has to take public transport.

Money will always buy better lives, more conveniences. But in an inclusive society that tries to make sure that these differences do not also impact meritocracy and the perception of fairness, the advantages that money brings need to be mitigated.

The right way to go about achieving a car-lite society is NOT to make cars available to only our well-to-do. The correct way is to change social mindsets, to make people see cars as a disamenity and an embarrassment rather than a status symbol. Public transport needs to be as perfect as possible. Practically speaking, one also needs to INCONVENIENCE drivers, making cars a less attractive option, not more. Build fewer car parks. Pedestrianise more of the city centre. Build fewer expressways that make drives faster and more pleasant. Use the land for parks and green spaces instead.

Lowering quotas and increasing prices are extremely blunt and lazy policy instruments. By themselves, that is still tolerable, but if the net effect is to have negative social repercussions, then they have to be strenuously opposed.

Our policy makers can do better. They must do better.

If the car population is not allowed to grow, whilst the general population of Singapore increases, it means that a…

Posted by Calvin Cheng on Wednesday, 25 October 2017

FAKE NEWS: AFP claims Singapore government will not allow any more cars on local roads

74 COMMENTS

  1. 2

    0

    Many Singaporeans are not going to be happy & let see what they can do.
    Now you have zero growth & come a day there will be negative growth- is that how frame the policy & not other new initiatives?

  2. 0

    1

    This guy talking thru his arse? Obviously never stayed in HK with minimal lots. You won’t get less car with your arse idea of penalising drivers with less parking, you will only increase traffic congestion n arseholes who will illegally park or wait by the sides with drivers who just drive round the block if horned. What u get is stationary cars hogging the roads. I would love to take public transport if it’s pleasant and efficient enough, but between shitty train service that may or may not take me to destination on time or, jam pack buses vs cursing behind the wheels at shit drivers who can’t stay in lanes, or refuse to signal or don’t observe road rules… I take the latter despite the driving angst because at least I know I can manage my time efficiently based on journey time and also rest my achy feet having to carry my child a long time. Don’t pass off driving a car to be a glam status thing. It’s no longer so for many. It’s just a practical transport esp when u r lugging kids n bags of essentials from diapers to food and can’t afford a crap train service to throw your schedule out of whack. So please stop verbalising shit thoughts.

  3. 0

    0

    Wanted to give up car ownership after the sixth car scrapped. However, due to job requirements, got to drive again. During those periods I was not driving, I took BMW and was caught in the Bishan tunnel flooding few weeks back and a couple of times from CCK to JE, took double more than the usual minutes. Other than that, if the trains don’t breakdown often, it was a smooth ride. When the day comes I no longer need a car, I’ll be jolly happy to get back to BMW. So, Zero-growth or not, people will continue to own cars. It will be divided when riches will drive bigger and more luxurious cars while bread and butter guys will head for the cheaper COE renewed cars.

    • 0

      0

      It would be better if COE can be based on the selling price of the car. Like if you bid 200% for the COE successfully and if selling price is $40K total price of car including COE will be 120K and if rich elites want to buy $500k car then he would have to fork out $1.5m for the car.

  4. 1

    0

    This country is seriously going south shitty. If we still do not change we all locals will have no where to go and be extinct. Unlike PR/new citizens still have an escape boat

  5. 0

    0

    This New Govt Policy favour The Rich & Unfair to the Working Class. Very difficult to accept this LTA COE policy …. Money will always buy better lives, more conveniences. But in an inclusive society that tries to make sure that these differences do not also impact meritocracy and the perception of fairness, the advantages that money brings need to be mitigated.

    • 1

      0

      Yep. So no cars, everyone should take public transport. No condos and bungalows also, everyone should not have a house larger than what they need. No investments allowed too. Why are some people allowed to benefit from property ownership?

  6. 0

    1

    why many landed houses with many cars and are allowed to parked outside their houses ? … are laws only for the lower and middle income earners ? ….. any real justices in sinagpore ?

  7. 0

    0

    “Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes” – PM Lee, may06

  8. 1

    1

    There is already “a class divide” in Singapore…. those living in landed property & private condos viz-a-viz this living in Government Housing Board flats. Among the “haves” there is a further divide between this living in lease hold condos & those living in landed property. The “car ownership” after 2018 will further sub divide the “haves” … between those who drive Merz, BMWs, Audis & Porsche. So what’s new??? This is in line with PAP Singapore government policy of “elitism rules” … only those poor suckers who still harbour the ideal of “democratic socialism” expounded by the PAP inthe 1950s still cling on ..,, not realising that the PAP & Singapore Government has Long jettisoned that for “elitism”.

  9. 0

    0

    Then we should eliminate car ownership in this country. Similarly we should only have HDB, and the size of the house youre allowed is only dependent on your family size. There should be nobody that should be allowed more luxury than others.

  10. 0

    1

    He is finally revealing his true colours as an opposition spy sent to make the PAP look bad. Gilbert Goh when is your turn to reveal you actually work for the PAP and was sent to make the opposition look bad?

  11. 0

    0

    Give us a reliable transport system with zero fault and we are open to the zero growth for cars. If the government can’t achieve this target after 5 years of unreliable services (ie. Smrt), how would you now want to inconvenience the public by taking away their most reliable transport system to get to work on time, to fetch their aging and handicap family member to hospital to work and young kids to school. The car is also an essential to many people because it is their bread and butter. A good government do not handicap their people but gives them a reliable tool. However, without a good reliable tool offered to their people, they want to take away another most trusted tool from them. With due respect, I don’t see it as good governing but lazy governing.

  12. 1

    0

    In Vietnam, China and North Korea, only the rich can afford to drive cars..I think Singapore is also heading towards that direction..not the car per se, but the way things is gg to manage..

  13. 0

    1

    I remembered a Sentosa Cove House Owner said, The Higher the COE will be better for pple likes Her with A Ferrari, BMW n Golf Buggy. What does this mean to Middle Working Class Singaporean ?

  14. 0

    0

    Many need private transport to make a living. Such as sales, despatch, home visit and etc…
    If private transports became so unaffordable, these people will be out of job and replaced by Malaysian using their own private transport.

  15. 0

    0

    This is a norm nowadays. See those young punks driving luxury cars when their hair are not even fully grown yet. Sg is a place for the rich. When you are poor or in the middle range families, you have to suck thumbs.

Comments are closed.