While I agree wholeheartedly that we ought to give more thought to, and do more things to save our environment, the Singapore Government's intention for Singapore to go car-lite may not be the most feasible or fairest national movement, ever.
According to a recent news report which weaved in Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan's bold cry in Parliament that "the car would go the way of the horse carriage" in 15 - 25 years' time, coupled with the Government's objective to transform and beef up our public transport options revolving around the aim for 75% of trips to be made by public transport by 2030, we at GET.com feel that many Singaporeans are taking the news with a pinch of salt. Here are 3 reasons why Singaporeans aren't too happy to hear about the whole car-lite hullabaloo that's going on in our sunny little island right now.
3 Reasons Why Singaporeans Frown Upon Car-Lite Singapore
1. Cars Provide Unmatched Convenience
Of course, there are pros and cons to owning a car, but you can't deny the fact that cars afford the kind of convenience that public buses and the MRT can never parallel. Those who drive will understand where I'm coming from. Case in point, it took only about 40 minutes when my dad drove me to NUS in his car in the morning, compared to the 80 minutes or so that I used to clock going by the bus-train-bus route from Sengkang to Kent Ridge.
Besides, certain jobs like sales, insurance, and property agents require the individual to travel to every nook and cranny of Singapore. The thought of having these working people flag down Grab a million times a month will only exacerbate the burden and inconveniences that they have to deal with. Plus, don't even think about asking them to walk or cycle 20-odd km when they have to meet their clients and do their part in growing Singapore's GDP.
2. Our Public Transport System Can't Handle Getting Everyone On It
Who in their right mind genuinely likes commuting on a perennially packed train in the mornings to work and then back home on an equally packed train (or bus) later in the evening?
A typical scene on any weekday morning involves tonnes of people squished together, some with faces almost stuck to the glass panels on the MRT - a situation which is uncomfortable, awkward and unsafe.
Peak hours are called peaked hours for a reason and it obviously doesn't help when train breakdowns occur so frequently that we no longer feel as alarmed as we once did the very first time the MRT line broke down back in December 2011. I remembered being lost for words when my mom called to share that piece of news with me while I was volunteering in a Cambodian village.
Now, getting everybody to board the buses isn't feasible, either. I can't count the number of times I couldn't get onto the bus just because it was way too crowded. We've all had to wait for the third or fourth bus that finally had a little space for us, didn't we? How many more commuters will there be in 15 to 25 years' time?
3. Not Everyone Will Go Car-Free
It is easy (or perhaps not so easy) to try and get the nation to give up their cars by coming up with well-intentioned initiatives like the said 'Car-Lite Singapore' by waxing lyrical about our public transport system that's undergoing improvements. But not every car owner is going to roll along with it. Will those who come up with these suggestions bid goodbye to their swanky, posh automobiles? I honestly don't think so.
Additionally, even if you do not need a car right now, who knows when a car will be a necessity for you and your family when your lifestyle needs change - you never know when you'll have kids or when your parents aren't so fit physically to squeeze with the rest of the population on public transport, right?
It has also recently been reported that the Urban Redevelopment Authority is toying with the idea of future 'zero parking developments for the new Downtown'. Would you be tempted to tread around and explore Singapore without a car?
Do You Drive?
What are your thoughts on this car-lite initiative? Feel free to share your thoughts with us. Also, if you'd like save some money on petrol, consider getting your hands on the right credit card. Here you can find the best credit cards that give you petrol savings.
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