Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alternative policies for Singapore

1. Land Transport

1.1. Private Transportation

1.1.1 Road Tax

Current System

Road tax is based the engine capacity of a vehicle. This archaic system is suitable when it was implemented because the cost of a vehicle then is generally in tandem with the engine capacity therefore those who can afford a more expensive vehicle pay more tax. However, this is no longer applicable as the cost of vehicles now are no longer in tandem with the engine capacity.

Big families who buy MPV that generally come with big engine capacity are disadvantaged as compared to those who buy cars with small engine capacity but expensive eg RX8.

Proposed System

Road tax should be based on the value of the vechicle. This can be determined by the open market value (OMV) of the car. LTA has other tax structures that uses the OMV as base, therefore it is not impossible to base road tax on the OMV as well. This system is fairer as those who can afford a more expensive vehicle, regardless of engine capacity, will pay more, just as what the current system was for when it was first implemented.

This system will apply to all vehicles.

1.1.2 COE

Current System

Buyers bid on a fortnightly basis for a COE from a pool of limited numbers as determined by LTA. Successful bidders are those who form the top list and every successful bidders pay the lowest of them all.

This system defeats the purpose of an open bidding because

- it pushes the responsibility of getting the entitlement to the buyers with cost instead of the car dealers themselves even when most COE biddings are decided by the car dealers and buyers simply pay for the advertised total vehicle cost.

- dealers will normally bid the same amount for all their cars.

- highest bidders will definitely get a COE as they will form the top group. This is a loophole because some bidders will not hesitate to bid an unreasonable amount just get a COE and yet need not pay for what they bid for.

Proposed System

COEs to be divided into 4 Category.

Cat A - Private Vehicles
Cat B - Commercial Vehicles
Cat C - Motorcycles
Cat D - Open Category

Cat A, B and C will be based on a first come first served based queue system.

Dealers will submit an application for a COE on behalf of buyers using their NRIC or business registration.

Buyers can only submit one application for each exercise and only through a car dealer.

Unsuccessful bidders will remain in the queue maintained by the dealers unless they opt out or decide to apply through a different dealer.

Any new applications will have to join the existing queue.

Only administrative charges apply for each application.

The number of COE to be allocated to each dealer can be on a percentage basis or on an equal basis.

Eg of Percentage Allocation System

Number of COE available = 100
Applications submitted by dealer A = 30
Applications submitted by dealer B = 40
Applications submitted by dealer C = 50

COE allocated to dealer A = 25
COE allocated to dealer B = 33
COE allocated to dealer C = 42

Eg of Equal Allocation System

Number of COE available = 100
Applications submitted by dealer A = 30
Applications submitted by dealer B = 40
Applications submitted by dealer C = 50

COE allocated to dealer A = 30
COE allocated to dealer B = 35
COE allocated to dealer C = 35

No car dealers will have extra COE for keeps unlike the current system now.

Cat D will retain the bidding structure as of now except that bidders will have to pay for what they bid for. COE obtained through Cat D can be used for vehicles in the other categories.

LTA will decide on what percentage of COE are to be allocated to each category.

1.2 Public Transport System

1.2.1 Buses

Current System

Commuters are currently charge by the distance traveled. Although commuters are now not charged for making multiple transfers, they will generally choose a route that cost them the least. This leave them with not much of a choice unless they are willing to pay more.

This will also result in a certain route or services being used more than others. As a result public bus companies will also need to roll out more services or increase the frequency for certain services will other services suffers.

Proposed System

Commuters should be charged by the shortest possible distance regardless of how far the total distance traveled is.

With GPS and the ezlink system, public bus companies can calculate the shortest possible distance that a bus can travel directly from the starting point to the end point.

The theory behind this is that bus companies should provide direct services for all the commuters and commuters are then fairly charged. Practically, this is of course not possible. Therefore by charging commuters the shortest possible distance, it is a win win situation for both parties

Bus companies will not make a loss due to abuse as no commuters would want to travel more than necessary.

This system will give commuters more option on the service and route to decide on therefore helping to ease popular and overcrowded ones.