Tragedy of the Singaporean Transport System
I am writing this not because I like to complain. I wrote this out of love for my country and it hurts me to see the recent policy changes or inactivity hurt our world class transport system.
Many Drivers, Few Cars
With the high cost of car ownership continue to act as barrier for drivers to own a car, we see more drivers not having the opportunity to stay on the roads beyond their TP tests. This created a situation where there are many drivers, but most remain inexperience or stay as road illiterates. Bad drivers became a common sight on the roads over weekends — making all sorts of mistakes and near misses, such as lane changing without signalling, roadhogging or even driving against traffic.
Even taxi also make such a mistake. So much for vocational license.
Such a situation creates higher risks of motorists causing accidents on the roads as a result of inexperience as oppose to having a well-balance between drivers and cars on the road. Understandably, we have limited amount of roads and thus should have limited number of vehicles on the road (hence COE).
However, isn’t it time we review the licensing system and how tests are conducted? For one, motor car TP tests are a lot more relaxed as compared to motorcycle TP tests. Motorcyclists have to go through three tiered licensing before being able to ride bigger motorcycles while motor cars are a single-class license. Some motor car TP testers even often cut short the tests — making it very easy to pass a motor car license while motorcycle TP tests strictly follow a standard route.
More Malaysian Motorcycles?
The introduction of three-tier ARF structure was promised by the Government that it would reduce COE bidding prices. However, for the month of Mar 2017, we saw the direct opposite: A $800 increase in COE prices to a record high since the introduction of COE for motorcycles. (It used to be $1 in 1990s).
Motorcycling has become a plaything for those who can spare more cash. In the past, it used to be a form of affordable transport for lower income breadwinners who need to travel often but cannot afford a car.
Most food delivery and couriers run on motorcycles so that they can get to their destinations quicker. We observe that there are more and more Malaysia-registered motorcycles picking up these delivery jobs. These Malaysians are not trained to handle motorcycles like we do in the Singaporean driving schools. They often get into accidents, especially on wet roads or lane splitting on congested expressways. There already has been a few major accident cases just past few months resulting in the deaths of Malaysian motorcyclists. Like for example:
Of course I do not claim that Singaporean motorcyclists are all saints.
Instead of raising prices for Singapore motorcycles and in effect and opening the floodgates for Malaysian to use their motorcycle for commercial use here, we should be looking at controlling the number of Malaysian motorcycles that are used for delivery jobs etc. Remember to check the number plate before counting the number of motorcycles on the roads.
In fact, there was no rise in the number of Singapore motorcycles on the road from statistics published by LTA:
I am party-neutral, and all I hope for is improvements to our society and home. So I hope the Government can wake up your idea and relook at transport policies seriously.