Off-peak cars can ease transition to public transport

The off-peak car (OPC) scheme was introduced in 1994 to curb peak-hour car use ("Raise rebate in off-peak car scheme" by Mr Laurence Ng; Monday, and "More drawn to off-peak cars"; Sept 14).

It was originally known as the Weekend Car Scheme, which was launched in 1991.

The objective at that time was to offer the lower-income group car ownership without adding to traffic congestion during peak hours.

I used to own a normal car mainly for work purposes, but with the flourishing of the MRT network, I began using the MRT more regularly for work, for its convenience and speed.

I have been using my car as an OPC since 2006, but not without some minor adjustments and planning ahead.

There is much potential and flexibility in using the OPC scheme as a tool to not only control peak-hour usage, but also as an interim step to increase public transport usage and perhaps, eventually, get people to ditch the car completely.

Efforts to transform a car user into a public transport user are too big a step and may prove futile, but the OPC scheme fits in nicely in the transition process to gradually change one's travelling habits.

It is time to enhance the attractiveness of the scheme, for example, by reviewing usage times.

Adrian Tan Kok Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'Off-peak cars can ease transition to public transport'. Print Edition | Subscribe