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Cars in Singapore

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 8:55 am

Interesting article in this mornings TODAY paper. It is online as well...

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/li ... out-wheels

Just for discussion purposes, how many have lived in large cities before coming to Singapore and drove their own car daily? Djakarta? Beijing? Hong Kong? NYC, London, Paris? Or did you make do with the mass transit and various public transport systems?

For the record, I've owned three cars in Singapore but I sold the last one within 3 months of the COE system startup back in 1991. I've not owned a car since. I also raised two young children without the cars, albeit by the time I sold mine my two children were 7 and 2. However, my wife didn't drive and she managed with the two when they were babies as I was working offshore at that time and was gone two months at a time. None of us are any worse for wear and my kids both started talking in sentences by the time they were 8 months old (one at 7 the other a 8 months). My wife used the easy travel method (not driving herself) to spend quality time educating the children on the things they saw in their travels. Also, it was easier to deal with them if they got cranky (not always easy when driving a car). I've owned cars & motorcycles from the age of 16 when I bought my first car. Being a yank, it's almost as birthright. But having been car free now for over 20 years of my 31 years here, I find I don't need it, don't want it and don't throw away money on it. It is different at home where I live 20 Kilometers from town out in the boondocks with no other means of transport. It's a necessity there. Here it's not even a luxury as you are supposed to "enjoy" luxuries. I daresay, nobody enjoys driving in Singapore unless they are into S&M.

Thoughts?........

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 9:15 am

In London I did drive but the mass transport systems are way less reliable than Singapore and more expensive.

I agree with everything you have said 100% and I would never buy a car here.

My only nagging concern, which I voiced in another thread a while back, was when my 2 year old developed a bad fever and we wanted to take her to the hospital. The wait for the taxi seemed like forever (only 5 minutes) and what would the wait have been like if it was raining? Having said that there is always the option of calling an ambulance.

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Postby Fortan » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:03 am

The first time I lived in Singapore (when cars were affordable) and when I lived in Bangkok I had my own cars. I've always owned a car until I moved back to Singapore this year in May.

There are a few things and a few times a month I miss having a car. However looking at the cost compared to convenience, it is quite simply not worth owning a car. I do hate sometimes that I can't get a taxi and have to wait forever for one but compared to the money I have to fork out to get one and even the inconvenience of having to find a place to park, every time I have to go somewhere.... I don't really miss having one.... :o

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Postby bro75 » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 11:11 am

In Manila, even with the traffic, if you can afford a car, you will buy one, as I did. Public transport was bad then, now there are MRTs but they still do not cover a lot of places. There are also still incidences of crime on the jeepneys and buses. Most foreigners assigned there (normally top / middle management) will get a car with a driver. I can afford a car here in Singapore but chose not to buy one as it does not make economic sense. If an employer provides a fixed car allowance that covers most of car ownership expenses , I may change my mind. But in my industry, this has a low chance of happening.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 11:22 am

We have the car only for the added safety. If for some reason you need to travel with young kids pretty frequently around the only practical option are the taxis and they not come with children car seats. Approach with carryng a car seat along is highly impractical and also compromises the safety.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 11:30 am

As an adjunct to my earlier post. I currently have the usage of a car (for the past two years) as the owner, a close Kiwi friend of 20 years, is in Jkt on a 3 year contract and didn't want to leave in in the basement of his condo here for obvious reasons. I use it on Saturday (I work half days on Sat) as it does allow me to salvage a bigger portion of the remaining day as there is less traffic and on Sundays possibly. But normally it sits at home from Monday to Friday (and I even have free parking at my office) because it's not cost effective and it only saves me 15 minutes if I use it during the week in the morning and it's 15 longer going home in the evening. Doesn't make sense. (and it's economical as it's a 7 years old Kia).

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Postby bgd » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 12:28 pm

Had a car in London and it was fine for weekends if I was strategic, i.e. traveling early and knowing the back routes.

Here I have a motorbike but only occasionally commute, I now find that I really only use it for trips into Malaysia. I guess that’s where having your own transport really helps. I will often cross the water on a whim, something I would never do otherwise.

Personally I enjoy the bus service here and relish the challenge of finding my way to far flung places (relative!) using route planning and buses. You can’t be in a rush though.

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 1:29 pm

To comments some more on the above.

We have been across to Johor a couple of times and the route via taxi is pretty painless. It does not deter me. Going further afield in Malaysia, hire car I guess.

Our daughter is going three years old and in the eighteen months we have been here I have never had a problem taking her on the MRT. We rarely use taxi's and yes I am mindful of the lack of child seat when we do, makes me feel uneasy.

I live in Toa Payoh and work in Novena. One MRT stop. Toa Payoh Central, Fair Price and the local wet market all within five or ten minutes walk.

The above are also beneficial in that they make me do some walking for exercise :-)

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 1:36 pm

bro75 wrote:In Manila, even with the traffic, if you can afford a car, you will buy one, as I did. Public transport was bad then, now there are MRTs but they still do not cover a lot of places. There are also still incidences of crime on the jeepneys and buses. Most foreigners assigned there (normally top / middle management) will get a car with a driver. I can afford a car here in Singapore but chose not to buy one as it does not make economic sense. If an employer provides a fixed car allowance that covers most of car ownership expenses , I may change my mind. But in my industry, this has a low chance of happening.


Nope never! Never going to drive through Makati unless its 3am in the morning on a Sunday and even then I wouldn't look forward to it! We used taxi's. Cheap and less instances of crime (although it can still happen).

When I retire to the Philippines we will have a driver come bodyguard come rental property manager come maintenance man. I already know who he is and will be employing him before I retire at the end of 2014 at least in the capacity of rental property manager and maintenance man :-)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 1:43 pm

Brother in Law?
:wink:

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 1:48 pm

You would think so but no, the company I work for does some manufacturing in the Philippines and I have four people working for me there. The warehouse goods in / out guy used to be an armed bodyguard for a foreign businessman in his past and he is also pretty good with maintenance and fixing stuff plus he is 100% honest and reliable.

We are closing the operation at the end of 2014 and I said I would employ him myself when the time comes :-)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 2:37 pm

Sounds like a winner to me. :wink:

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 2:44 pm

Steve1960 wrote:You would think so but no, the company I work for does some manufacturing in the Philippines and I have four people working for me there. The warehouse goods in / out guy used to be an armed bodyguard for a foreign businessman in his past and he is also pretty good with maintenance and fixing stuff plus he is 100% honest and reliable.

We are closing the operation at the end of 2014 and I said I would employ him myself when the time comes :-)


Sounds like your own version of Alfred Pennyworth.

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 2:56 pm

nakatago wrote: Sounds like your own version of Alfred Pennyworth.


Yes, only lacking the upper class English accent..................and I don't have the courage or figure to wear my pants on the outside of a pair of tights :-)

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 3:43 pm

I had a car my last 6yrs in Hong Kong, my whole time in KL (for obvious reasons) and these last 6yrs in Singapore.

In HK and KL I commuted everyday.

In the last year everything has changed a little. We've been fortunate to consolidate our living environment now to within a few kilometres. My son walks to primary school, and I walk to work after relocating our office as well. I leave the car at the office on weekdays for when I need to go out to meetings or technical visits. We have started taking the bus more as we moved to a location with good connections.

Do I need a car? Yes, still. I'm using it far less than before but I need it more for work purposes than pleasure. If I was a guy that only worked in an office and had no sales visits, not technical follow ups, no troubleshooting, no need to run into JB or KL then, from a personal point of view, we could live without it. As it is, however, I love the flexibility of it being downstairs for when I need it, not the 30min later it takes me to get a cab.
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