Car used to be seen as an essential in my adult life when i was young. Especially when the MRT system was not as advanced and extensive, and bus routes were usually ply with many stops, and not all buses are air-conditioned (yes, i lived through that era!), car seems like a luxury to me.
It was a “cool thing” to have in my young mind and I mentally added it to my must-have when i’m old enough. However, now that i have reach (and exceed) the Singapore driving age, it seems to lose the appeal due to the number of reasons below.
Improved Public Transport Services
With the government ambitious plan to install MRT stations within 10 mins walk, it makes travelling much faster and easier. Not forgetting that buses comes more frequently, and have a better outreach to lesser travelled regions and areas. Travelling on public transport have been the most comfortable and convenient, a glaring contrast to my childhood years.
With the popularity of ride-hailing services such as Grab and GoJek in Singapore, it have made private transport prices more competitive and transparent. What’s more, it eliminate the headache of finding a carpark, especially for hotspots where parking are sparse and costly.
A car means monthly instalments, gas money, carpark, maintenance, insurance, and the list goes on. For someone still finding my footing in the adult world, it would be pushing my finances to pay off a car while juggling other adult debts.
With a car debt, it would also reduce the amount I can borrow when applying for a home loan due to the mortgage servicing ratio (MSR) or total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) that is imposed on each of us to control the amount of debt we can incur, based on your income.
After observing my transport habits and needs after a while, I noticed that there is no situation where there is a burning need for me to require a car. Being an adult means work, work and more work. Both my home and workplace are near to MRT stations which would makes more sense taking public transport. Carpark are not readily available in my office building and additional costs is required to park it in a public carpark.
The occasional outings with friends and families are usually limited to hotspots which have many public transport available. Otherwise, the option of sharing a hired car is available. The transport costs I incurred is way below the amount I would be paying if I get a car instead.
Many would jump in and protest that car is a need in their life. This, I do not deny. Some of us may need it for work or for their family. But based on what I assessed for myself, it would not value-add much to my lifestyle. Of course, the need would change when I have a family or there is a change in my work environment. But for now, I am satisfied with the available public/private transports.