Friday, July 31, 2009

Expensive car park in Singapore

I attended a lunch at Four Seasons Hotel. The parking charge, for just over 2 hours, was $15. This is an expensive car park. I wonder if any other car park is more expensive in Singapore?

Car parking charges in Singapore are still lower than many other cities, according to this report.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Promote the use of car sharing

A car sharing scheme allows members to share the use of the cars owned by the club. The cars are parked near the homes of the members. Several member can share the use of a few cars parked in the neighbourhood.

The member pays for the cars at an hourly rate. The cars are booked in advance, on a first come first served basis. If a member is interested in the use of the car, it is better to book early, to gain priority.

The member has to return the car back to the original parking space. This allows the next member to take over the use of the car. The charge is based on the time used and the distance travelled, i.e. for the consumption of fuel.

If the fuel tank reaches the replenishment level, the member using the car has to top up the petrol. The cost of the petrol is charged to the club. Members have to observe the rules and play their part, so that the scheme works best for everyone.

The cost of using a shared car is about 10% to 25% of the cost of ownng a private car , depending on the usage. On average, the use of a car can be shared among 4 to 10 members and the cost is spread accordingly.

The first car sharing scheme in Singapore started about 15 years ago. It operated as a cooperative. Later, a few companies operate a similar scheme, quite successfully.

To reduce the congestion on the roads and in the car parks in Singapore, it is time to actively promote the use of car sharing.

Tan Kin Lian

Difficult to find a parking space during lunch in HDB estate

I went for lunch with a few friends in Hougang HDB estate. My friend dropped us at the restaurant and went to look for a parking space. He could not find any space nearby and had to go 500 meters to a multi-storey car park.

My friend said that many people bought cars, but found it expensive to drive to office, due to ERP and parking fees. They left their car at home, in the HDB estate.

This resulted in insufficient parking space in HDB estate. So HDB estates is also congested with cars! It is quite wasteful to spend $80,000 for a car, to be left at home, or to use only during the weekend.

It is better for these people to rent a car or take a taxi during the weekend or to join a car sharing scheme.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Work near your home

When I set up my office, I choose a place that is near my home. It takes me 5 minutes to drive to my office. I employ people who stay nearby, so that the travelling time is short.

I wish to encourage more people to work near their home or to move their home near their place of work. This will reduce travelling time and congestion on the road.

When looking for a job, give priority to work near your home (even if the salary is lower or the prospect is modest). When looking for workers, choose those that live near the place of work, even if the quality is just acceptable.

This will help to improve the quality of life for everyone, and reduce congestion on the road.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Unsightly flyover in the center of town

There is a flyover in the center of the CBD. It carries traffic from Marina South to Cross Street. It is unsightly. I wish that the road planners could have found another way to handle the traffic. If this was not possible, they should have restricted the traffic and parking in Marina South.

It is time to plan an internal bus service to serve the CBD. The number of cars using the CBD should be restricted. The cars should be parked outside of CBD and the drivers should use public transport within the CBD.

In many cities, there is a tram service to handle most of the internal transport.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

ULTra in London

ULTra is the abbreviated name for Urban Light Transport. This system is being implemented in Heathrow Airport in London. It is a good example of what the modern, authomated car will look like.


Implementation in London Heathrow

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Local transport

We have to develop the concept of local transport in a town. A town could be Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Bedok or Tampines.

The local transport can be a bus or taxi service. As it serves only a specific town, the licensing requirement should be simplified (as compared to a service that serves the whole country.

For example, we can allow unemployed people to use their cars to provide transport in a town. They can charge $2 per trip and take in a few passengers. They can also operate a small bus that can take more passengers. They have flexibility to pick up or bring passengers to their doorsteps, or nearby.

This will create jobs and provide a useful service for other people who are already employed.

Tan Kin Lian

Friday, July 3, 2009

Innovation fund of $20 million to promote electrical vehicle

Singapore has set aside an innovation fund of $20 million to promote the use of electric vehicles.

I suggest that some money in the fund be used for this project:

a. Establish a car sharing scheme using electric vehicles
b. To be operated for short distance transport within a town
c. Use GPS navigation to drive the vehicle automatically to the destination
d. Install safety devices to prevent collision
e. Operate within a maximum speed of 30 km.

I believe that the future of electric vehicles is for a new mode of operation, i.e. as a taxi without a driver. It will be fun to call an automated taxi to pick you from a stop near your home and take you to the nearby MRT station, bus terminus or shopping mall. There is no need to worry about parking the vehicle as it will be used by another customer shortly.

Many electric vehicles are now being sold in China for US$6,000 or SGD 10,000. It will be economical to use these vehicles in an automaticated local taxi service.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

MRT trains to come under single operator?

At present, SMRT operates the NS line, EW line and the Circle line. Comfort Delgro operate the NE line.

It is advantages for SMRT to operate all the lines. This will allow the services to be better integrated, remove wasteful competition, reduce operating cost, and (hopefully) reduce train fares.

The snag is, "how much should SMRT compensate Comfort Delgro to take over the NE line? "

This question is difficult for both parties to solve. I suggest that this matter should be decided by an Arbitrator, and that the Government should appoint this Arbirtrator to resolve this issue. It cannot be left to the two companies to sort out.

Signage in MRT trains

A few months ago, I suggested in a letter to the newspapers (which was published) the following signages for MRT trains:

a) To show the current station, previous station and next station
b) To show the side of the train where the doors will open at the next station.

At that time, the rply from SMRT was that (a) was possible, but (b) was not.

Recently, I saw that some new trains had the lighted signs that show both types of information.

Well done to SMRT for finding a solution. I hope that these signages will be implemented in the older trains as well.