YOUNG MOTHER: AVERAGE SINKIES PRICED OUT OF CAR MARKET

Dear Mr Lui Tuck Yew,

I am a mother of 2, my older son is 3 years old and my younger daughter is 1 year old. I find the current transport situation in Singapore especially frustrating. I want to buy a used car to ferry my kids to school, go for outings and visit their grandparents, but it just doesn’t make economic sense!

Singapore is the only country in the world where used cars cost more than brand new cars! A bread and butter Japanese car that is 5 years old depreciates at about $11K per year, and that is excluding the higher maintenance cost for an older car. A similar brand new car only depreciates at about $9-$10K per year. How is that logical?

What makes this even more illogical is that the new car has a higher paper value because it is tied with a more expensive COE whereas the used car has a lower paper value because of the lower priced COE. In 2015, a 2009 Honda or Toyata is being sold by second hand dealers for the same price as it was first bought! Are we uniquely Singapore in this way?

So in the end, it is only the rich who are able to buy the brand new cars, as they enjoy a lower depreciation rate and cheaper maintenance cost. But the Ministry of Transport and LTA doesn’t seem to be doing anything about this, as COE price climb up month after month and ministers continue to insist that there is nothing wrong with the current system. I am just a regular parent trying to buy a car for a few years to tide over my children growing years.

Some people might ask why don’t I take a taxi or the mrt/bus? If Mr Lui doesn’t know, it is hard to get a taxi when you really need one. Furthermore, with all the surcharges, taxis are really no longer cheap. There is the peak hour surcharge, midnight charge, booking charge, ERP, CBD charge and if you happen to hail a premium cab, the fare is different as well. If you have been to Hong Kong, which is a similar city like ours, they do not have all these nonsensical charges and it is easier to hail a cab there.

As for the mrt/bus, let’s not talk about the breakdowns, overcrowding and irregular timetables of the public transport. It is really not easy taking the public transport with two young children in tow when I am alone.

I am not an opposition supporter and neither am I a PAP supporter. I just hope things will get better soon but till now I see no real improvement.

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