An interesting paradigm shift to tackle motor car road congestion in Singapore : On-Peak Cars

Jul 19, 11 An interesting paradigm shift to tackle motor car road congestion in Singapore :  On-Peak Cars

I was recently on my way to town on a Saturday afternoon, and I tell you, I was in for a shock! The number of cars along the CTE and within Orchard/City Hall area are crazy! I remember quite some time ago on a Saturday evening, I drove from Newton to Suntec. It was actually quite a short route, just round novena, then the back of KK hospital, past little india, then straight on to suntec. Shouldn’t take too long since the train ride from newton to city hall was just 10 minutes or so.

The drive took 45 minutes.

And not only that, the searching for a parking lot at suntec took another 20 minutes.


So I was wondering, is there a reason for this?

The first thing that came to mind was that I will definitely take public transport the next time I go to town.

The second thing that came to mind was Off-Peak Cars.

Off-Peak Cars are basically red plate cars that are allowed to drive only between 7pm to 7am on the weekdays and full days on the weekends. In return, they get a form of rebate off the purchase price of the cars. The essence behind this scheme was that they wanted to keep the roads as congestion free as possible during office hours, so that logistics can move fast, couriers can deliver parcels with minimal delays, and people will be able to get to meetings without 1 hour traffic jams like in other regional cities. (Think Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Beijing, Jarkarta) In this aspect, the Off-Peak Car scheme has been very very successful! Now, you only get traffic congestions before 9am, and after 6pm! Inconvenience yes, but pragmatic too.

The problem is you get a flood of cars on weekends! Every normal plated cars and Off-Peak cars will be flooding the roads, particularly to places with shopping malls. (which in the case of Singapore, tend to be congregated together) While I can’t say it is an economically inefficient, it is definitely a bit of an annoyance.

Thus, the concept of On-Peak Cars.

Putting aside people who buy car for the sake of luxury, there are still a group of people that need to have private transport. Typically sales people, marketing people, coordinators who need to go for numerous external meetings, or just self-employed business owners. Some of them might not even want to drive in the first place, if not for their job requirements. Is it possible then to have a scheme to discourage off peak car usage?

Consider a new car category, where a rebate is given for On-Peak Cars, such that it makes it cheaper for businesses to own vehicles, but at the same time, restrict them from using it on weekends. The rebate would probably be lower than that for Off-Peak Cars, since they can drive it on 5 days, but in the nature of cost efficiency in businesses, people might actually take up the idea!

Or maybe, just take the train!


What do you think?

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