Our boys take on what it means to be car-lite
While Singapore’s efforts at going ‘car-lite’ have been widely reported in the papers, the concept itself remains a little bit of an enigma. Does it mean a concerted move towards having less cars on our roads? Or, does it refer to reducing the use of our personal cars in favour of public transport use? It is, in its very essence, a very tricky issue to debate because of the way we each live our lives. There may be similarities but they are almost always uniquely different as Ben and Jon are.
JT I’m someone who spends much of my day in an office. And while I own a car, I take the bus, occasionally the MRT, to and from work. Not only do I find it cheaper and more convenient, it’s sometimes faster too. The car, I must concede, is only used on occasions where I’d need to travel to multiple offsite locations for work, run my errands, or crave convenience over the weekends. Mind you, I enjoy driving, but it just makes more sense to take the bus, sometimes.
BC I guess you represent probably the majority of folks, whose needs are more or less adequately met by the public transport system. I will admit I am an anomaly, in that for me, under most situations, a car serves me much better than the bus or train. Neither my home nor my previous workplaces were well-served by public transport, and now as a freelancer I do need to travel fairly extensively throughout the day to various parts of the island for assignments and meetings and such. So in that sense a car is probably a boon or even necessary in order for me to go about my daily business.
JT Arguably, this whole concept of a ‘car-lite’ society can be baffling. Especially when there are these pilots projects for electric and autonomous cars going on. They still mean cars on the road, and given our limited land area, I fully understand just why car numbers have to be regulated; if simply to avoid having chaotic traffic conditions such as those in neighbouring Bangkok and Jakarta.
Therefore, my understanding of what it means to be car-lite is this: Own a car where your means allow you to, for the prices you pay for one is right up there with the more indulgent of luxuries. It means mobility, but at a high costs. But with ownership, use it as you will.
Personally, I will look at efficiency, and what works best for me. If it is more convenient to take the bus to work, I’d opt for that.
But of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, as Ben clearly will argue.
BC The overall monetary cost of public transport is of course infinitely much cheaper than having your own car, but what about the intangible