Cutting car population not only route to car-lite society

I agree that in a small country like Singapore, we may not be able to increase our car population annually ("Isn't a decline in vehicle population a good thing?"; Feb 16).

However, we must not go to the other extreme of reducing it too much either. This would be doing a disservice to many Singaporeans who need a car, not as a matter of prestige, but out of necessity.

Motorists here already pay for the most expensive cars in the world. Reducing the vehicle population will lead to a higher demand and higher certificate of entitlement (COE) premium.

This could raise transport costs for businesses, and translate to a higher cost of living.

There is no need for more factors to push Singaporeans away from driving - the high COE prices, limited parking spaces, higher parking charges and worsened traffic are enough.

The right approach for a car-lite society is to make public transport cheap and efficient to persuade Singaporeans to give up driving.

With an efficient public transport system, people will not want to own cars, even when the COE premium is low.

This will mean a lower cost of transportation for businesses, and hence a lowering of the cost of living.

Chan Sikhuen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2017, with the headline 'Cutting car population not only route to car-lite society'. Print Edition | Subscribe