More incentives, not penalties, needed to convince people to go car-lite

I have been a car owner for more than 13 years and particularly enjoy driving for reasons such as comfort, efficiency, thrill, freedom and privacy.

The following is why car ownership is so important to me.

- I drive my girlfriend home on an almost daily basis. She lives in Jurong West while I live in Tampines, so the journey - there and back - takes me about an hour. In comparison, it takes me almost three hours to do the same via a combination of MRT, bus and walking.

Taking a taxi would cost me $60. If I add up the cost, I might as well own a car.

- Owning a car is not just about comfort and efficiency, but also about the freedom of being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want.

It is about being able to listen to your favourite music channel and singing along to your favourite songs while driving. It is about engaging in conversations with your passengers and loved ones without needing to worry, if you are in a crowded bus or train carriage, whether you are disturbing others.

- Cities such as Tokyo and New York have cool weather most months of the year, making these places suitable for walking or cycling. Singapore, on the other hand, is hot and humid throughout the year. Add in the unpredictable weather here, where it can rain so heavily with little warning, and it is clear that cycling to work, for instance, is not as straightforward as it is thought to be.

I am not against Singapore's car-lite initiative per se, but so far, I have seen only disincentives - higher parking costs, and so on - introduced, rather than incentives, to convince us that the strategy is really beneficial to us ("No cakewalk to ditch car, but can deeper reasons move drivers?"; July 31).

Other than installing electric fans at some bus stops, and putting up posters of cyclists enjoying their sweat-free ride or of commuters in pristine and serene MRT trains, isn't there more that should be done?

Jeremiah Ong Kian Ann