Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Change in car policies?

I think there is a smoking gun pointing to a change in government attitude toward car ownership and use here, which is not made known to the public. This first got my attention when they relax loan restrictions for buying new cars, the way they are accommodating industry disrupters like Uber and Grab. Now this.

What does Car-lite mean. To me it means the total number of cars go down but the existing stock of cars are run much harder. It also mean more cars will have more than just someone driving himself about most of the time as well. Eventually the majority of cars would be driverless. The end point is easy to tell but the journey there is much harder. This is tricky business as land transport is a highly politicised topic. I imagine this is best done with a little public interference as much as possible, by stealth if possible.

One of those changes could be a shift from fixing car population like we have seen since the 90s toward targeting prices as a higher priority leading to car population reduction. In other words COE prices will be kept high. Liberalizing car loans and shrinking COE quotas help to bring this about. Allowing Uber, Grab and their wannabes to compete for the same scarce COEs will help to achieve the same result rapidly. Eventually the taxi fleets would become smaller, which is probably helped by drivers quitting.

Car transport is becoming like our meals. We eat out often on plates that we do not own and wash afterward, we will also increasingly be riding in cars that are not registered under our names which we never need to worry about maintaining as well.

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