If you were in the same situation I was in sometime early last year, thinking if you should get your own ride in Singapore or not, here are a few things you should consider before going ahead to get your own car.
If you dont’ already know, Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices are still more or less at an all-time high, and car loans have been capped at 50% of OMV starting sometime early this year. If you are still in the position to consider getting a car, here are some other aspects you should consider.
Just sharing my personal experience when I still owned a car (I sold it sometime late last month):
When I got my car (it was a very basic, 2.5 year old Kia Picanto), I was still able to get a 100% car loan. That still worked out to close to $600/month in instalments. In addition, there are still many hidden costs associated with owning your own vehicle, which resulted in many people lamenting that it’s simply cheaper to grab a cab anywhere round island than to get your own car.
Here’s a breakdown of my “hidden” costs:
The other not-so-hidden costs:
- Petrol: ~$400/month (even with all the credit card discounts)
- Parking: ~$250/month (seasonal parking and what-not)
- ERP: ~$150/month
This works out to approximately $1,700/month just to drive a car and use it to its fullest. This is taking into considering that you do not get into car accidents or get any traffic fines.
So unless you are earning well in excess of $5,000/month, how do you even own a car?
The most comment lament about grabbing a cab in Singapore is this: Where are all the freaking cabs during peak periods and rainy days?! During these times, you can’t even book a cab after being on the line for over 15 minutes. And this is when you really wish you have your own car.
So here’s a (pretty) well-kept secret that I’ll share with you. When I was considering if I should sell off my car, word was out there that there’s a pre-paid card where just need to top up a credit of $2,000 which is valid for use for a period of 6 months. And what the card promisese is to give you priority booking of cabs.
In fact, this is what is promised on the Cabcharge Asia website for the Cabcharge Priority Card (last option on the page):
Booking a taxi is always a breeze for our privileged cardholders. Our call system recognises your mobile line and places you in the front of the queue instantly. In the event of high taxi demand, for example, on rainy days, our dedicated hotline staff will get a taxi for you in the shortest time possible[…] You can also share the many conveniences of the CabCharge Priority Card with your loved ones by applying for them a supplementary card.
This works out to slightly under $350/month, and should solve the main gripe of not being able to get a cab when you most need it. I recently received my card and have already put it to use. However, I have yet to put it to the test i.e. on extreme rainy days, but I am sure I’ll get to do that over the festive period. Will update again then!
But yeah, this is a pretty good alternative to consider, especially if you’re at the cross-roads of getting your own car in Singapore.