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Are cars a necessity or a luxury? TODAY readers weigh in

The issue of car ownership amid skyrocketing Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums was hotly debated by TODAY readers this week, after a recent Big Read shone the spotlight on why people still buy cars in Singapore. Here’s a selection of comments.


I die die won’t buy a car because our transport system is good. Point to point, no need to fight or wait for parking, kena (get) summon, (pay) road tax, insurance… and season parking. Taxi, Grab and others, reach destination, open door (and) walk, which is so convenient. ROY TANG

My parents and their parents, together with my uncles and aunties’ generations, did not have a car when they were bringing up their families. It can be done, in fact brings you much closer to your children than being a driver. CALVIN YO

Times have changed. Do not live the way our fathers have lived on this land. This is now a modern city, live like a city dweller. If you insist on owning a car in a city, it is an extravagance you must be prepared to pay for. Weekend rental or car-pooling is another alternative over public transport. TAN FAITH

In Singapore, driving or riding is actually not considered a “leisure ride” since our country is small. So many traffic lights too… even if you pay for ERP (Electronic Road Pricing), you can still be stuck in a traffic jam. YUJIN TAN

Ultimately, we must recognise that a car is still a luxury rather than a necessity (even for those who really need it), regardless of which angle you look at it, and that affordability is not something we can solve for. CHENG FEI


The answer lies in the satellite-based ERP system, which is long overdue… When the new ERP system can control the usage of roads at an optimum level…  it could result in the Government being able to release more COEs for each monthly bidding. Car ownership does not cause traffic congestion. It is the use of cars on the roads at the same time that causes traffic jams. TAN KOK TIM

Separate the COE for families and (those) that need a car to make a living. Those who own more than one family car (should be) considered a luxury COE. PETER LEE

A Catch-22 situation. A better public transport system needs higher ridership to be cost effective. Higher ridership means more crowding, more inconvenience, especially during peak hours… More taxis, more PHVs, higher COEs, higher fares, more traffic, more congestion, more unproductive. Higher COEs also push up other transport costs. There must be a balance. The system needs an overhaul. If our infrastructure cannot support the bulging population growth, slow it down. MARGARET CHONG


These comments were first posted on TODAY’s Facebook page. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length. If you have views on this issue or a news topic you care about, send a letter to voices [at] with your full name, address and phone number.

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