Thursday, January 21, 2010

COE @ $20K...rationing your dreams.

The COE for all categories of cars has breached $20K[Link] - car dealers accurately predicted this in Sep 2009 when the govt cut the number of COEs by 16%[Link]. Yes, what to do? More people want cars and Singapore has only so many roads so we have to ration car ownership and control the use of cars. The COE is a unique solution and the ERP is fairly unique - some countries collect toll for the use of highways but the ERP is a finer grained solution controling the use of stretches of roads that are congested. If the COE system is necessary - we were told that we will have crippling traffic jams without the COE, why haven't cities without COE fallen apart? Why are we the only ones with COE?..I'll answer this later.

In many countries, having a family car is very common if not a necessity but in Singapore it is considered a luxury and owning one is dream for many working class families. Because the number of COEs is fixed every year depending on the number of cars deregistered and allowing for a small limited growth, it is build into the system that many, if not most, families will never own a car. By importing more people who also compete for the limited number of COEs, even fewer Singaporeans can realise this dream.

The COE is allocated based on a bidding system i.e. it is allocated based on ability to pay rather than a person's needs. A family with 3 children has no priority over the teenage son of a tycoon - it is all decided based on who can spend more money. Now superimpose this COE system on a society with the highest level of income inequality in the developed world...hmmm what do you get? Then you supplement this with a 'for profit' public transport system which has shareholders to answer to. What you get is a transport system that people are constantly unsatisfied with. Cars are not going to the people who need it - families with children or individuals with disability but to people with money ...and a public transport system that has to tradeoff between service quality and profits for shareholders. Caught is this system is the working class father who has to carry his baby's stroller up a sardine packed bus and the mother who has to carry the baby and perhaps control a toddler who can't get a seat because the bus is packed and the tired Singaporean on the priority seat has closed his eyes and pretended to doze off.

Today as I was getting onto the MRT, I noticed that they have hired a woman wearing gloves at the platform. What are the gloves for? This woman will instruct the people on crowded trains to 'move to the center'. If they are too deaf or too stubborn, she will start using her hands to move them- that is why she needs the gloves. Why can't a supposedly world class govt run a public transport to maximise comfort for commuters without hiving it off to profit-seeking shareholders who want passengers to be packed like cattle so they can maximise their profits?

Now for the great mystery - why do we need the COE system when no other city's transport system has collapsed without implementing it? Why doesn't Seoul of pop. density double that of Singapore need to have COE? What about Tokyo....why hasn't it collapsed from a traffic gridlock without COE? What about Taipei which has a population density 1.5 times that of Singapore? We ended up with this unique COE system that brought in more revenue for the PAP govt from car ownership than any other govt in the world and we also have the one of the most profitable, if not the most profitable public transport system per capita (aka SMRT) in the world....actually the public transport system in most countries lose money. So what is the explanation for this great mystery?

The demand for cars depends a lot on the quality of service of the public transport system. If you take 2 hours driving to work, you will switch to the MRT if it gets you there in 1 hour. This is why most Tokyo residents leave their cars at home and take the subway - 1 in 2 households in Tokyo own cars[Link] but less than 10% use it to get to work. Most govts curb the growth of the car population and usage by investing heavily in public transport to make the network extensive and rides comfortable to lower the demand for cars[Link]. The Taipei subway for example arrives at less than 1 minute intervals during peak hours. In Seoul, the public transport network in up and running before people start moving into new residential areas to encourage them to use the public transport instead of buying cars.

By implementing its unique COE + ERP system, the PAP has been able to create a new source of revenue. At the same time, there is less pressure to improve the public transport rapidly now that the govt is able to control the absolute number of cars - the shares in public transport company have been sold to profit seeking shareholders and the public transport company now has to generate profit to distribute as dividends to these shareholders .No other city even those with far higher population density has needed to curb car population using a vehicle quota system....and no other govt in the world has been able to collect more revenue from car ownership than the PAP.

67 comments:

Onlooker said...

Uniquely PAP way to make Singaporean Pay And Pay more and more to support a top heavy bureaucracy that demand $$$Million$$$ dollar pay.

[cz] said...

ok. wow. this is something new. haha.

Anonymous said...

May I remind people who voted for all these nonsense?

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan,

Well said.

There was once a joke long time ago about Malaysia's National car Proton and Singapore's COE.

Malaysia's Mahathir had to build a car and sell it in order to earn the money.

Singapore' LKY just need to design a piece of paper called COE to get the money!

So in this respect Singapore is more boleh than Malaysia! Haha!

Anonymous said...

they would argue that you need to be profitable to improve the system and eventually, this will raise the quality of ride for the passengers.

so more profit = better service = less reliant on car = demand for cars drop = cars become more affordable for those who really need it whilst maintaining a high premium COE for higher cc cars(tax the rich) to keep the middle class from foolish indulgences and....everyone is happy BY THEN!

foolish?

contrarian said...

I would rather the government collect $3 billion of revenue from car owners, than from the general citizenry as part of a general tax like GST.

Unfortunately, the reverse happened.
"In 2000, the government collected S$6 billion in vehicle-related revenues. S$6 billion, it’s a huge amount of money, it’s like two or three times the amount of GST we collected in that year. Because we have changed policy by 2008, the amount has come down. Halved – S$3 billion." Lee Hsien Loong, National Day Rally 2008

Anonymous said...

It only proves that singaporans are rich but why are they so rich?

Anonymous said...

yah, 5 times over subscribed for expensive BTO flats, chasing world most expensive cars nevermind that COEs are rising, i want to know which bank they rob so i can join in

Anonymous said...

"It only proves that singaporans are rich but why are they so rich?"

Just because you can pay by installment, you call yourself rich ? Didn't majority of housing and cars are paid by installment ?

Just because you paid 30 years for a house, it is called affordable and rich by ASSHOLE TAN ?

Anonymous said...

"Just because you paid 30 years for a house, it is called affordable and rich by ASSHOLE TAN ?"

You didn't buy the house, you are renting the house from the government. To make it sound good, lease the house. Don't you feel better living in the make=believe world of PAP ?

Anonymous said...

I believe the government since the very beginning have been obsessed with building a big reserve. With no natural resources, a healthy reserve is the only way to keep the nation going. At the same time, the government also believe the majority of citizen are not capable of spending their money wisely. Therefore they devise various schemes to take as much money as possible from the citizen to build the reserve. Somewhere along the way, with year after year of budget surpluses and reserve so big they don't know what else to invest in, they decided to start rewarding themselves handsomely. A few hundred millions here and there is not going to make a difference to the huge reserve plus there will always be budget surplus the following year. That is the vicious cycle of the current situation we live in. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the heads up on other cities of similar density that do need a coe system.

i've always thot pap is obsessed with making money. it's like a greedy man who keeps coming up with scams after scams, in all areas, to skim off the unwitting public.

put the greedy man away behind bars. put pap away in history books pls.

Anonymous said...

"You didn't buy the house, you are renting the house from the government"

I would like to rent somemore if it makes me money. LOL

Anonymous said...

PAP under the old guard - think of ways to GIVE to Singaporeans.

PAP under "bargain" million dollars leaders - think of way to TAKE from Singaporeans.

PAP retains the same name but it has become an entirely different organization.

Wake up people!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:25
You started off thinking like the pap then, you got an accident. You became a different person.

And you blamed your old man for treating you like a dog.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, how come nobody ever asked this question why other cities don't need COE and we need? Looks like we all got brainwashed!!!

Anonymous said...

because they cherish their lives

Anonymous said...

LSS would have my respect if he can make SMRT Cheaper-Better-Faster instead just making us cheap!

Anonymous said...

you are cheap, because you are cheap, your living standard becomes better and a better living standard makes you happier therefore you work faster.

Anonymous said...

you are cheap, because you are cheap, your living standard becomes better and a better living standard makes you happier therefore you work faster...and become more productive.lol.

Anonymous said...

Remember the big debate about building the NEL because it runs through 2 opposition wards? Commuters were told to pay more then but it is profitable now. More ppl are moving to the NE region because of the NEL, not the other way around. Who was the transport minister then? Transport policies seems more revenue generating than public service. I always think transport ministers shd take public transport for 1 year before they can assmue office.

Anonymous said...

For the commuters on public transport, they are feeling the effects of the overcrowding in trains and buses. For the drivers like myself, we are feeling the overcrowding on the roads. Traffic jams whole day long.

I suspect that our infrastructure is bursting at its seams to support the current 5million people. But I am quite sure that the foreigners are "not" imposing a burden on the public transport and roads much like they are "not" imposing a burden on public housing.

rookielim said...

Lucky,

I used to think highly of Gerald Ee because of his father. But, I am utterly disappointed with him and the Public Transport Council.

Despite (or because of) Gerald Ee's pedigree, PAP make use of him as their henchman to propagate the their agenda.

Luckily we still have a few good men like yourself left.

lim said...

I remember just a few years back, someone wrote to ST forum page suggesting that the parf rebate be paid out in cash instead of a certificate that can be used to offset the price of a buying a new car, and lta's response was that it is not possible, since it is difficult to budget for the number of vehicles that will be deregistered...

Guess what, it is now no longer difficult to budget for it when lta decided to limit number of coes...

Ironic, right?

Anonymous said...

Well, to summarise, collecting too much from the taxpayers (COE, ERP, GST) and NOT using the money to invest into infrastructure to enhance their lifestyle. Instead of building more train lines and widening roads, the monies collected goes into lining their pockets. For instance, instead of giving priority to the downtown line 2 that runs down Bukit Timah for its residents and students in their corridor, the govt decide to build MRT line around the Marina Bay area FIRST so that foreigners and tourists can use it when the casinos open. It's about giving a good experience to foreigners all the time. Singaporeans always rank LAST.

Anonymous said...

pap = pay and pay.
they already warn u so and yet u people still wanna vote for them. i concede many were not given the chance. i also concede many fall for the devil's temptations. many were also just dam ignorant and gullible.

Anonymous said...

LSS would have my respect if he can make SMRT Cheaper-Better-Faster instead just making us cheap!

Anonymous said...

May I remind people who voted for all these nonsense?

Anonymous said...

We need more opposition party members/candidates.

Anonymous said...

"you are cheap, because you are cheap, your living standard becomes better ..."

LOL let's all help to better the living standard of our ministers by making cheap!

pap's (ill conceived) logic

Ghost said...

You can only be blamed Singaporeans who throw their brains away when it come to owning a car. Cars are not needed in Singapore but most Singaporeans still want one. This is one problem I think you cannot blame the government for

Anonymous said...

Pap people live cheap from the outside but away from prying eyes, they own private islands and private jets overseas.
The old man once said about the communist leaders. Don't be fooled by the outer coat which look the same on everyone. The leaders coat on the inside are made of special dragon skin.

Anonymous said...

"Just because you can pay by installment, you call yourself rich ? Didn't majority of housing and cars are paid by installment ?"

Our wise minister mr mah bow tan also pay by installment,so?

Anonymous said...

I have a thought that HDB is also being used as a vehicle to siphon money from our CFP and banks.

COE is a piece of paper made to be worth $20K.

HDB is a $100K pigeonhole made to be worth $600K.
Its all a plot to create revenue out of nothing by controlling supplies and allowing demands to pile up, hence pushing up prices of things that would otherwise be worth a ffraction of the cost.

Something is wrong...very wrong

Anonymous said...

""I have a thought that HDB is also being used as a vehicle to siphon money from our CFP and banks.""

Not need to think. It has already been confirmed...where else do you think we get the billions of dollars to lose?

Anonymous said...

""I have a thought that HDB is also being used as a vehicle to siphon money from our CFP and banks.""

The vehicle is probably parked at Oxley Area. We need to conduct a secret operation to hijack the car when the driver is snoozing.

Anonymous said...

The vehicle is probably parked at Oxley Area. We need to conduct a secret operation to hijack the car when the driver is snoozing.

Kenneth shall be the master mind. Chee shall be the get away driver. Low oshall be our negotiator if kena caught by the authorities. Chiam will pretend to act chin chia charm to gain sympathy went kena sued.

Anonymous said...

COE, CPF and HDB are the cash cows of PAP what.

Anonymous said...

Oh wait, there's one more! GST!

Anonymous said...

JBJ shall rise from the dead should the day come for "the one" to rise from his grave.

and the ultimate clash of the titans leading to the liberation of CPF,GST AND COE for the redemption of sinkies!!!!

Yum Seng!!

Anonymous said...

Oh wait, there's one more! HDB!

Anonymous said...

Points to consider during cooling off period..

1)Vote for PAP and you vote for more foriegners.

2)Vote for PAP and you vote for higher COE & ERP.

3)Vote for PAP and you vote for more profits for public transport companies.

4)Vote for PAP and you vote for affordable HDB flat.

5) Vote for PAP and you vote more more million dollar ministers

Anyone care to add...

Anonymous said...

6) Vote for PAP and you vote for more GST to help to poor get poorer

Anonymous said...

when lawyers are politicians, they become robbers.

Anonymous said...

few know that there is Certificate Of Erection in sg.

soon there will also be Certificate Of Election

Anonymous said...

We will also need a Certificate of Ejection.

Anonymous said...

in the event there is no resurrection of the dead, the sons of the deceased shall take over the battle.

the one the baldest at the end of the bloody battle shall be declared the rightful ruler and get to sleep with our spoil.

Anonymous said...

PAP under "bargain" million dollars leaders - think of way to TAKE from Singaporeans.

yes 100% agree. I dun bate a eyelid not to vote for them. Just think of them as tools. REPLACE THEM IF THEY RUST!!!

GIVE THEM A WAKE UP VOTE OF 48.88% in the coming election.

Anonymous said...

knnh.20k kbkb.tio 60kto100okb4 or not?

silang pap kjs

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with rationing scarce resources. If you stay in a little island, you'll have to contend with limited space, land, etc.

What's really convoluted is the way that the 'rationing' is done.

1. Use COE to control car population.
2. Congestion controlled.
3. Issue more COEs so that more people can have a car.
4. You get congestion.
5. Implement ERP to control congestion.
6. Congestion controlled.
7. Issue more COEs so that more people can have a car, now that roads can handle more traffic with ERP.
8. Implement XYZ to control congestion.

So at the end of the day, it's a system that tries to optimise output, aka "squeeze every bit of juice out of the sugar cane".

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone of us should really think of what you have said seriously. Cars or private transport are meant for those who can afford it, in other words "rich", then the "poor" are given a public transport who every now and then answerable to their share holders, the rich again.

Anonymous said...

'Malaysia's Mahathir had to build a car and sell it in order to earn the money.
Singapore' LKY just need to design a piece of paper called COE to get the money!
So in this respect Singapore is more boleh than Malaysia! Haha!'

You mean, Dr M has to hire people to build the car to sell back to the people. So jobs are created? Industry is created; knowledge transfer?

As for LKY, printing paper is cheap and doesn't need many people to be hired to do this. did LKY create jobs for us like the way Dr M did? And isn't this COE another way to suck off our money?

Somebody should rephrase this joke so it has a better taste for the policy which benefits people.

Anonymous said...

APPLAUSE! I'm impressed u rationalized the whole scam!

Anonymous said...

'The fact now is that hierarchies are breaking down, dissolving into messy networks,'

Sounds like losing control to me.

Anonymous said...

At least he has the sensibility to say that the world is moving towards a democratic style of leadership.

But still, the devil is in the detail.

Nevertheless, our prognosis may not be too far off.

Aurvandil said...

The problem with the Singapore public transport system is similar to the problem we are having with HDB flats.

It has been unable to keep pace with the huge increase in population.

Other than requiring a place to stay, the foreigners also need to go to work. If you increase the population by 17.6% from 2003 to 2008 but fail to increase the number of MRT/bus services, then what you will get is incresingly congested public transport and skyrocketing COE prices.

Anonymous said...

the problem is black and white.

too many two party thinkers around.

brain dead assholes!

Anonymous said...

大家好。新年快乐!
Happy New Year
,everyone!

Anonymous said...

Seven if my friends and I did not vote for the PAP in the last election. 5 of friends were from the civil service. One is a scholar. I can't wait for election. To exercise my right against hypocrisy, elitism, arrogance, power crazy and money greedy leaders. The more people attend the meet-the-people session, the more bullets the PAP machinery has to study the psyche of its electorate and then design a propaganda to blindfold and misled them time and time again.

Anonymous said...

A noble point about letting household that need it priority, but I like to read how you can propose to implement this.

Societies to date have always favored the rich when it comes to purchasing power. If you can come up with a innovative way to give priority to those in need for not only cars but in all areas, I SALUTE you. I hope to see this before I die.

As to your comparison with Tokyo, I distinctly remembered packed trains and exorbitant prices for car park lots. Could the latter explain the reluctance to drive to work?

Just because ERP is innovative does not mean it is bad. The system can be improved with better technology to forewarn drivers of cost in certain routes.

I am not a rich man so indeed sometimes I am envious of the rich. If you can create a society that is more fair to all, please stand for election (hopefully in my constituency) and I'll definitely vote for you. Even if you don't I like to hear your views about how we can control a capitalist system that has gone out of control.

Kim said...

They need to road to be cleared for the elites to travel. COE does the job. If our elite ministers can't get to their destinations easily, they will not be able to productive.

Anonymous said...

i wish Lucky you would write up on what LKY said in our 154th MSM today because i can't wait to commenty on it. The old fool's showing fear and I don't want stupid and naive singaporeans to fall for his bait. How many times can you cry wolf?

Sarcastic said...

All PAP said about the need for COE and ERP are lies. The needs to control vehicle population directly contradict their policy of allowing unlimited number of foreign vehicles into Singapore.

Refer to this thread on REACH (http://app.reach.gov.sg/reach/YourSay/YourDiscussionCorner/tabid/117/ptid/414/threadid/2105/forumtype/posts/Default.aspx) and you will find that after months of asking PM and LTA on their contradicting policies regarding the vehicular controls forced on Singapore Citizens, there was no answer.

On the side note, Singaporeans get fined heftily for driving foreign vehicles, while foreigners are free to do so.

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