Tuesday, November 24, 2009

why drive?

"driving in singapore is a breeze." whoever wrote this had to be joking. what is the use of well-marked roads when you can hardly see the markings; when what you constantly see these days is a close-up view of the back of the vehicle in front of you.

driving, especially to work, is no longer a pleasant experience in s'pore. the roads to your working place seem to be all clogged up. in the early days, it used to be the main roads that were jammed. nowadays, even the arterial roads are chock-a-block. returning home from work, you go through the same grind.

even with having to pay for erp, quite a number of motorists do not seem to be deterred. there is only a slight drop in the traffic during those paying hours. the number of cars on the roads has increased a few folds over the past few years. there was a time when parking space was never an issue, whether you reported for work early or late. nowadays, you had better be early or you might end up leaving your car at some unauthorised spot.

when i first started working in the 60s, it would have taken us at least a few years of working and 'moonlighting' before we could afford to buy a used car. these days, it is quite normal for a person who has just joined the workforce to own a new car within the first two years.

the congestion on our roads is beginning to remind me of our experiences when driving in kuala lumpur (kl). i do not know of the present traffic situation there but for many years, each time we visited kl, we would park our car in the hotel and relied on public transport - even though we ran the risk of being charged an exorbitant rate by the taxi-drivers - to move about. chun see mentioned about the notorious traffic in kl here.

here, in melbourne, i see the same kind of traffic build-up during peak hours but the speed of flow is definitely much faster than back home.

i just checked with my friend's daughter who lives in melbourne. she parks her car, for free, outside the train station at huntingdale and takes the train to the city. as long as she exits the station, any station, before 7.00 a.m., she travels free on the train. this is one of the ways that they have adopted here to reduce morning congestion on the roads.

she has been back to s'pore recently and she told me that she has changed her mind about going back to work in singapore. she finds the place much too crowded, not just the vehicular traffic but also the human traffiic.


fr said...

Indeed, why drive ...

I would say our public transports are good and generally efficient.

But our roads will always be crowded if young people aspire to own cars and car owners do not want to give up theirs.

This is a problem that has no permanent solution; we just have to adjust policies to manage the situation.

I think cost of car ownership will go up. ERP charges, COEs, taxes ... People will grumble and complain - This won't solve the problem. We need our cars in our work, to fetch our children, etc. All said, they are reluctant to park with their cars.

yg said...

fr, i agree with you about the cost of car ownership going up. erp charges, coes and taxes will climb higher over time. erp charges may eventually be extended to longer hours. hdb car park charges will be increased, using the favourite line - the last increase was carried out so many years ago.

Yu-Kym said...

Although talking the 5 C's (car being one of the C's) is a thing of the past, people are still pursuing that C but this time instead of saying that Want it, they say they Need it.

One "good" thing about owning a car though is it makes it easier for people to get dates and get laid.