Record motorcycle COE prices penalise Singaporean riders

I read with concern that the certificate of entitlement (COE) price for motorcycles is at a record high - $6,889 - for the first tender of the year ("Experts concerned as motorbike COEs rise to record high"; last Saturday).

The price is now twice the cost of a small motorcycle with a 200cc engine.

Gone are the days when the COE price was around $1,500 to $2,600.

Buyers of motorbikes used to be small businesses, delivery boys and newspaper distributors.

Today, with more people scrapping their cars, the choice of transport might have changed to motorbikes with bigger engines.

With a motorbike of more than 1,000cc, which costs more than $30,000, a COE price of around $5,000 would normally be acceptable, being less than 20 per cent of the vehicle cost. But this is no longer the case, with the COE at $6,889.

The COE price may hit $10,000 if demand exceeds supply.

Meanwhile, I have noticed, while driving on our expressways, that there tends to be more Malaysia-registered motorcycles criss-crossing between cars and other vehicles on their way back to Johor Baru in the evenings.

These motorcyclists are not here to shop or sightsee but to work, as can be seen from their attire and safety shoes worn.

Many Malaysian motorcyclists can be seen delivering pizzas and burgers, too.

Their motorbikes cost at most a few hundred dollars as they do not have to buy COEs.

So the question is: Why are our motorcyclists penalised with such a high cost, while others enjoy lower operating costs?

Charlie Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Record m-cycle COE prices penalise S'porean riders'. Print Edition | Subscribe