A low-income family can own a car in S’pore if it meets their needs

It is the necessity of the situation.

By Guan Zhen Tan | November 30, 2017

Singapore plans to achieve zero car growth in the coming year.

This will make Singapore more of a car-lite than car-less society, since new cars will ply the roads as long as older cars get de-registered.

Talking Point

In a recent episode of Talking Point, which is available on Toggle, it was highlighted that not relying on a car might prove difficult for some families who depend on it for their everyday activities.

And one such family is the Han family, featured as a low-income family making S$3,000 a month but spends S$500 to upkeep their car, which they bought second-hand.

Explaining the difficulties of travelling with two young children on public transport, their take is that they will not give up their car for anything — as yet.

The video and article on this topic explored facts and statistics, such as the decreasing likelihood of someone taking the MRT the further they live away from it, along with bringing up the concerns of a beleaguered public transport system facing the challenges of an increasingly car-lite society.

This resulted in a heated debate online.

Depending on how angry you are you see it,

1) You should not be owning a car when you’re from a low-income group or
2) It’s unusual, but maybe we can empathise with why this family is going against “the norm”

Public Transport not the best

Those who defended the Han family’s decision on sticking to driving, empathised with the family’s difficulties.

This is especially understandable as a family with young kids will likely have multiple things to carry when they head out and family time should be spent doing things and not sticking it out in long public transport rides.

Combine this fact with how bigger families usually have elderly folks tagging along, the need for a car is justifiable.

No car, no problem

While giving up driving might seem daunting, some mentioned from personal experience that it was much easier than previously thought.

And they might indeed be giving the right advice — at least to those planning on buying a car given the hefty financial burden to undertake.

According to an interview with a car dealer, COE prices could possibly rise by 15 to 20 percent due to the zero car-growth from February 2018 onwards.

Should the infrastructure and transport facilities begin to improve and catch up, that would perhaps make not owning a car more attractive an option.

However, it is also suggested that those who need to give up on car ownership are either retirees or people who drive for the sake of themselves, rather than the necessity of ferrying family members around.

This implies that those who still have a need for owning cars aren’t necessarily judged to be wasteful or pampered.

Nevertheless, even though some may chastise the Han family for owning a car, one comment rightly pointed out that different people have different situations and have reasons for the choices they want to make.

Top image via Talking Point on Toggle

Here’s a totally unrelated but equally interesting story:

Mums share their experience in helping their kids go cashless

About Guan Zhen Tan

Guan Zhen is a serial doodler with multiple pens with her wherever she goes. She loves listening to Visual Kei bands, Jamiroquai and random songs from the future-funk genre.

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