Need for fairer system of COE allocation

While some families have forgone car ownership altogether or are struggling to own one, there are families who own four or more cars per household. The fact that there is no additional disincentive for such households with multiple cars is shocking.

With the zero growth policy for certificates of entitlement (COEs) set to take effect from next month, richer households are expected to become the biggest purchasers, while lower, middle-income families get forced out of the bidding market (Fewer COEs for cars, motorbikes from Feb; Oct 24, 2017).

Less well-off families travelling with children, the elderly or disabled will have to rely on public transport.

Imposing a penalty on households with multiple cars would be aligned with the Government's goal to achieve a car-lite society.

Such a penalty can ensure that the rich do not frivolously buy multiple cars and unnecessarily bid up COE prices.

Compared with COEs and electronic road pricing which affect all vehicle owners indiscriminately, this penalty is a fairer one since it is imposed only on households that opt to have more than one car.

There is a fixed number of COEs to go around. This makes equitable distribution all the more important.

If richer families were given disincentives to own multiple cars, perhaps greater breathing space can be created for the rest to own a car.

Fiona Ng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2018, with the headline 'Need for fairer system of COE allocation'. Print Edition | Subscribe