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Sunday, July 5, 2015

End of Free Parking at NParks




I am shocked to see Wilson put up the banner and the gantry at the car parks at West Coast Park.  Sigh!  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Abandon or Abroad?


I was amused to see a plant and grass growing beneath this car.  I told my boy that the car is likely to have been abandoned but he thought otherwise - who in the right mind will thrash a vehicle in Singapore?  He reckoned that the owner is abroad for a couple of months and have parked the car at this free parking lot to save some $$$ during his extended absence.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

马年快乐



Happy Lunar New Year to you!  With effect from the February 2014 first open bidding exercise, COE  categorization will be based on Horse Power.  Category A is for cars with engine capacity up to 1,600 cc and Maximum Power Output up to 130 bhp (97 kW) while Category B is for cars with engine capacity above 1,600 cc or Maximum Power Output above 130 bhp (97 kW).

Do you think the quota premium will fall for Category A?  Now many luxury makes are bringing new diesel model with lower Horse Power to qualify for Category A.  Let's observe the outcomes in the next few bidding exercises.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beautiful Ride


My ride has just turned 5 years' old and I took a close look at it after the car wash.  The multiple tiny dents from knocks by wide-opened door of neighbouring-parked cars and scratches from accidental and intentional incidents make my beautiful ride looks somewhat dated.  Alas, I also looked wrinkled from my reflection in the side wing mirror as I tried to remove the scratches using Autoglym Super Resin Polish.

I was driving to work in the morning when I heard this song Beautiful Ride on Lush 99.5FM.  It reminded me to be appreciated of it as I see around the nice cabin illuminated with the morning sunshine beamed through the windscreen and sunroof.  I felt very relaxed then cruising on the East Coast Parkway.

Do you enjoy your ride?  Here I  another rendition that I have found on YouTube:



Tried to reach you yesterday
To lie the lion down beside the lamb
Tried to find the words to say
I tried to put the white dove in your hands

I'm happy to take my turn
I'm happy to live and learn
I'm happy to let this slide
Till you come around

Cause it's a beautiful ride
As long as we're living
It's a beautiful ride
I don't mind if you're willing

Cause you and I
Circle in the same sky
You and I could fly side by side
On this beautiful ride

We're living with the tapestry
The energy of everything we've done
A little bit of you in me
A little bit of hope in everyone

I'm happy to make it right
I'm happy to stay all night
I'm happy to let this go
Until you come around

Cause it's a beautiful ride
As long as we're living
It's a beautiful ride
I don't mind if you're willing

Cause you and I
Circle in the same sky
You and I could fly side by side
On this beautiful ride

Yeah, you and I
Circle in the same sky
You and I could fly side by side
On this beautiful ride

It's a beautiful ride
As long as we're living
It's a beautiful ride
I don't mind if you're willing

It's a beautiful ride
Look out your window
It's a beautiful ride
It's a beautiful ride
Beautiful ride

It's a beautiful ride
As long as we're living
It's a beautiful ride
It's peace and forgiving


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Smarter GPS on Smart Phones


Do you have a built-in GPS device in your ride or got a dedicated GPS device like the Garmin?  Now that almost everyone of us is using a Smart Phone, you can easily download a GPS mobile app from Apple App Store or Google Play.  I am using Waze (pronounced as ways) which is developed by an Israeli firm that was bought over by Google in 2013.  

The feature that I appreciate most is the capability to recommend a faster route when the system detects from other users' location data that the current route  is jammed up.  Here's a real example that I encountered earlier this week:


I now use it regularly as I will know the estimated arrival time and can let my friends and family know ahead if I will be late.  This reduces the stress of rushing in traffic and in turn, makes it a safer commute.

In relation to my previous post about the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE), I think GPS users contributed to the congestion in the East-West traffic as most GPS devices or mobile apps were not updated when the East Coast Parkway (ECP) no longer connects to Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) from 29 December 2013.  In fact, Waze was also not updated until 5 January 2014.


The wrong route did not impact me as I was traveling West-East and just continue onto the MCE but I had to rely on the directional sign to exit MCE to join ECP.  Other than that initial usage feeling unfamiliar, I find the change does not make much difference to the daily commute to work except that I miss the nicer scenery from the Benjamin Sheares Bridge.

I find that GPS is becoming a technology that is integrated into my motoring life.  What about you?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!



What an exciting start to 2014 with the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) in its 4th day of operations!   We saw a major crawl of traffic coming from East Coast Parkway (ECP) into the city on Monday 30 December ... Apparently many motorists forgot or did not realize that the ECP no longer connects to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) and they missed turning left to join the MCE and ended up with traffic bound for the Central Business District.  LTA added two more lanes for Central Boulevard and more directional signs to ease the traffic snarls.

I am surprised that the communication for the change management was not extensive eg. there is no printed flyers distributed at petrol stations near the two affected expressways and the remediation of diverting absent-minded west-bound motorists missing the MCE was not planned for (temporary u-turn at the termination of the ECP could have been setup).

I have only made one post in 2013 and hereby apologize to my blog visitors for the tardiness. My 2014 New Year resolution is to make weekly posts to the blog.  Well, let's see if I can fulfill the resolution.  Stay tuned.

[4 January 2014] LTA has gotten its traffic advisory into the local papers daily since 2 January.  I don't think we will see a repeat of the bottlenecks on Monday 6 January as the recent media reports have got the message through to most motorists.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

COE Debate - Single Private Car Category with OMV Multiplier for Quota Premium

It will take LTA another few weeks to finalize the tweaks to the COE system from the feedback from more than 3,700 people in the public consultation exercise.  Much of the discussion centred around how the different COE categories for private cars should be changed.

Most are in favour of moving from the existing criteria of engine capacity to a car value-based categorization.   However, this will not address how to fairly allocate the limited certificates to each category.  I would prefer all private car COEs (categories A, B and E) to come under one single category since it is impossible to please both the mass market buyers and luxury-make buyers if allocation across more than one category is required.  The tweak is that the final payable quota premium will be multiplied by the OMV.

COE bids will be made for a base of $10,000 OMV value.  Let's consider the successful winning bid for the exercise is $30,000.

A mass market buyer of a car with OMV of $16,000 will have to pay the computed quota of $48,000 (16,000/10,000*30,000)

A luxury-make buyer of a car with OMV of $40,000 will have to pay the computed quota of $120,000 (40,000/10,000*30,000)

In this way, there is no complex matrix to categorize cars which may result in luxury-make dealers importing models that meets the lower category criteria.  In the long run, the quota premium will come to a stable state.

Doing away with the Category E Open will also forced all buyers to go through the same process and stop any fast-track purchase by paying a premium for dealers' stock of Category E certificates. This category is taken as a benchmark for dealers to set their selling price.  I would even go a further step to separate car price from COE bid amount so that buyers are certain about what they are paying for.  Buyers should sign for an agreed car price and the maximum bid amount. In that case, dealers will not get any windfall from a sudden drop in quota premium when they set a low COE rebate.

LTA can also take a leaf out from the property cooling measure of Seller Stamp Duty (applicable to residential property sold within a year of acquisition) to introduce a special duty for vehicle ownership transfer during the first year to deter dealers from bidding and registering vehicles like the "double transfer" deals in the past.

I hope LTA will provide a fair and efficient method to resolve the madness after the stormy 23-year of the current COE system.





Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Collision or Accident?


Insurer AXA has rejected the claim for the Ferrari crash at Rochor Road as reported by the Straits Times.  If the insurer is successful in up holding its position, it can claim from the driver's estate for all third-party compensation paid to the victims.

Do you think the court will rule in favour of the insurer?  I would support so if it is proven that the speed was significantly over the allowed limit and that the driver had beaten the traffic light in the case.  This will send the right message to owners of high-performance cars that reckless driving is NOT condoned especially if the collision resulted in fatality of innocent victims.

Related post: Ferrari smashed Taxi

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Category T (Taxi) COEs

Today is the start of the London 2012 Games and it reminded me about the Olympics Lane we had two years ago when the YOG was held here.  Designating lane for the Game does ease anticipated congestion for the athletes and officials but it causes horrendous commuting for the locals.

LTA has also published earlier today updates for Taxi COEs:


Taxi-related COE Changes

  • As we move towards a lower vehicle growth rate, LTA will also make changes to how taxis obtain their COEs, taking into consideration recent COE trends and feedback from both the public and the motor industry about the influence that taxi operators may have on COE prices. First, taxis will be taken out of the COE bidding process from August 2012. They will pay for COEs based on the Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP) of CAT A under the Vehicle Quota System (VQS). This is irrespective of whether the new taxis are intended to replace deregistered taxis or to add to the existing fleets. Allowing taxis to pay the CAT A PQP maintains a concession given to taxis for their public transport role.
  • Second, the COEs used for taxi fleet expansion will be extracted from the Open Category (CAT E), which can be used to register vehicles in any COE category. This is more reflective of the role of taxis in our public transport system and it is more equitable to use CAT E quotas that are contributed by all vehicle types, rather than drawing solely from CAT A quotas. This also reflects the current situation in which taxi companies register a variety of vehicles as taxis, including both CAT A and CAT B models as well as some minibus models.
  • LTA is in discussion with the taxi operators on the proposed taxi availability standards and COE related changes. LTA will finalise the details and provide information on the COE related changes in early August, before the start of the next COE bidding cycle. It will provide details on the taxi availability standards in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • The COE quotas already announced for the next 6 months (August 2012 to January 2013) will not be affected.


With this latest change, the buck is passed to Category E which is usually used to register larger private cars.  The obvious effect is that the Category B COE quota premium will eventually move up in tandem with the reduced Category E COE quota from 2013.  Category A COE quota premium should fall without the competition from the taxi companies evident from late bids submitted in several of the past month's bidding exercise. 

I wonder if the noise source will shift to larger car buyers.  In the same press release, LTA will require taxi companies to comply to the new Taxi Availability (TA) standards from 2013 which may require them to put more taxis on the road.  I am sure that the analysis of the impact will be conducted soon and the gap will force the increase their fleet size and consumed the Category E COEs.  My bet is that Category E COE quota premium will hit $100K soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fewer Cars Scrapped



Business Times has reported today that the scrap rate for vehicles was flat in May 2012 and dealers anticipate that COE quota premium for small cars will hit $80,000 and big cars will test the 6-digit $100,000 mark.

The demand for Category A COEs for small cars will be fuelled by the competitive taxi companies and premium makes with more powerful smaller engines.  It seems that the mass market makes may be priced out if LTA limits the "cooling" measures to the followings:
1. The deferment of the planned cut in allowable annual vehicle growth rate.  The rate will be cut to 1% from August, instead of 0.5% which will be effective from February 2013.
2. An exercise to reduce COEs to compensate for the oversupply in 2008 and 2009 is delayed to July 2013.
3. Open category COEs will be made up of smaller contributions from the other categories.

The next six-monthly quota will depend on the scrap rate up till June 2012 and it is not looking rosy with the May figure being flat.

Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew stated during Parliament on May 14 that a "Pay As You Bid" system to curb excessive bidding for COEs was not feasible.  He mentioned that feedback gathered from industry members and academics at the 1999 review revealed that the PAYB method has several drawbacks but he did not elaborate on what were the drawbacks.  He shifted the focus to PAYB method having less merit since the open bidding system for COEs was implemented in 2001.  Open bidding means that the public are aware of the current COE bid prices so there is no incentive for bidders to put in bids higher than what they are prepared to pay for.

I completely disagree as I deduce that the reason for not implementing the PAYB method is the high cost of maintaing the bidding system that is able to cope with the anticipated high volume in bid price changes lodged near the 4pm closing time.  I am sure that nobody wants to appear stupid in overpaying for the COE and thus, will not be overly aggressive on early bids.  And LTA also does not want to face angry bidders (mostly dealers) who failed to change their bid price to secure the COEs.

Will the extra windfall from the additional premium (difference from the minimum winning bid) collected from the higher PAYB bidders pay for the system upgrade?  It is very unlikely since most will become responsible (smart) bidders.  Thus, it is almost certain that we will not even see a trial of PAYB method since it does not make economic sense to LTA (or the government) for paying more cost and reaping less revenue.  Sigh ... I wonder if we will ever get a Transport Minister that will support the PAYB method ... probably NOT in my lifetime.  A parting note for LTY ... I do not mind eating my words 8-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Make a Profit from Driving?


Motoring in Singapore got featured on Bloomberg yesterday with the article "Singapore Family Sedan Matches Cost of a U S Home".  Here is an extract:


Confident Buyers

Job security has made people more willing to buy cars, helping drive prices higher, said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Research Pte in Singapore.

“There’s a certain degree of speculation,” Song said. “Due to the COE, you can make money by buying a car and selling it one year later. In most other countries, we’d say a car is a depreciating asset.”

Song said he takes trains and buses, and “whoever wants to drive and pay through the nose, go ahead.”
I find Song's comments amusing and clearly contradictory - he claimed that you can make money from buying and selling of cars and then he dismissed those driving next.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ferrari smashed Taxi



This must be the most tragic local traffic accident in 2012 resulting in three death - the Ferrari driver, the taxi driver and the taxi passenger.  Two others were injured - the Ferrari passenger and a motorcyclist who was dismounted by the taxi from the force of the crash.

The investigation into the cause of the accident is still in progress.  It is strange that the Ferrari was so late in beating the red light.  There is a pedestrian crossing about 30 metres before the cross junction where the accident occurred; perhaps the Ferrari driver had mistakenly relied on the green light of the pedestrian crossing and missed the red one when going at such a fast speed.

Is the accident avoidable?  Let's wait for the official investigation result before making any speculation.  In the mean time, put on your seat belt and drive safely.