Home voices Are cars a necessity or a luxury? TODAY readers weigh in

Are cars a necessity or a luxury? TODAY readers weigh in

Are cars a necessity or a luxury? TODAY readers weigh in
Published October 18, 2023 Updated October 20, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

The issue of car ownership amid skyrocketing Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums was hotly debated by TODAY readers this week. In TODAY’s Big Read series last weekend, car dealers, owners and industry observers shared their views on why people still buy cars in Singapore, and how the market has responded to help consumers. 

Readers were divided over the issue, with many saying that families with young children or the elderly should be entitled to own a car. Others disagreed, saying that Singapore’s public transport system was sufficient, while some suggested changes to the COE system to bring down prices. Here’s a selection of comments:


COEs should be allocated based on need, not affordability. Families with children or (the) elderly should be entitled to own one family sedan (not a luxurious continental car) without the need to pay for COE. A basic car for a family should be treated like a HDB flat. The current formula based solely on affordability is twisted — those who are well-off can own multiple cars… even though such individuals don’t need it; or those using the car for business, such as private hires. HO YEW CHIN

If you’re out without your kids and it starts raining, you’ll find it hard to get a cab or PHV (private hire vehicle). Now if you have one kid with you, your pool of options lessens because you either have to call a standard cab or the PHV family version. If you have more than one kid with you, getting a family PHV with multiple child seats is challenging and your pool of options drastically reduces. Of course, you can always take public transport, which comes with its own set of challenges depending how old your kids are. JAN TAN

Sometimes, we families with small kids would love to travel via public transport, but our fellow commuters are something else. Lifts meant for the elderly and prams are all filled up with abled(-bodied) people who don’t bat an eyelid to those in need. On buses, people stand at the area where prams are supposed to be parked… Our transport system is excellent. It’s the users who are lacking EQ and IQ. NOURA YUSOFF

I’ve got a 76-year-old mum and 93-year-old grandma. Every Sunday I take them out for dinner which (makes them) very happy. I occasionally take them to the supermarket to buy groceries. That’s how important owning a car is. The Government should make it affordable for all families to own their first car. Those who buy a second car should be made to pay higher. GOH KHENG LENG

Separate the COE for families and (those) that need a car to make a living. Those who own more than one family car (should be) considered a luxury COE. PETER LEE

A Catch-22 situation. A better public transport system needs higher ridership to be cost effective. Higher ridership means more crowding, more inconvenience, especially during peak hours… More taxis, more PHVs, higher COEs, higher fares, more traffic, more congestion, more unproductive. Higher COEs also push up other transport costs. There must be a balance. The system needs an overhaul. If our infrastructure cannot support the bulging population growth, slow it down. MARGARET CHONG


These comments were first posted on TODAY’s Facebook page. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length. If you have views on this issue or a news topic you care about, send a letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.