SINGAPORE: On Thursday night (Aug 10) it was reported that prices of the Certificate of entitlement (COE) had risen yet further, reaching new records in the big car and Open categories.
But one Reddit user noted that “High COE prices isn’t the problem, the problem is that people are still willing to pay for it.”
u/fortprinciple acknowledged on r/Singapore that “COE prices are not set by the government but precisely by what people are willing to pay for it.”
However, he added that the fact that the rich, or those who take out big loans, are willing to pay such high prices for a car, points to a larger issue: that cars are perceived to still be the best mode of transportation.
And in Singapore, this mindset needs to change.
“As a land-scarce city, we should aspire for true car-lite urban infrastructure. That does not mean physically limiting the number of cars on the roads, but designing infrastructure and policies in such a way that people don’t want to drive,” he added.
“For a lot of trips in Singapore, driving is still faster and more convenient than public transit. Excluding the initial capital outlay of purchasing a car, it’s also not much more expensive, as Singapore has very cheap parking by international standards.
This leads to 2 problems: 1) people who can afford cars want to buy cars, 2) people who already own cars want to drive cars.
We need to design urban infrastructure to not accommodate and prioritize cars as much. That means dedicated cycling lanes, more bus lanes in residential areas, and more road diets for cars.”
And while he calls public transport in Singapore excellent, the country’s car infrastructure is even better.
“Public transit should not be something you take because you can’t afford a car, it should be something you want to take because it is overall a better experience,” he pointed out, adding that the world’s best cities for commuting don’t even have COEs, showing that designing cities where people don’t want to drive is possible.
He ended his post by writing: “Personally, I enjoy taking public transit in Singapore a lot – I don’t have to think about traffic, it frees up time for me to read, it’s inexpensive, it’s clean, and there are no crazies around unlike in some other cities. My only gripe is that buses are slow and regularly stuck in traffic, and I wish I could be zipping through bus lanes and bypassing all the cars on the roads.”