S1E3: Record-breaking COE’s impact on Singapore society

  • 15 Sep 2023

As more are priced out of owning cars, will the cost of vehicle-sharing services shoot up and be passed on to those who use them? 

Synopsis: The Straits Times offers expert insights to Singapore's mobility trends and the vehicle quota system, which includes the Certificate of Entitlement (COE).

The certificate of entitlement (COE) is the permit needed for a vehicle to be used on the road in Singapore. This cost then needs to be added to the cost of the vehicle itself before it hits the road. Coupled with a zero-growth policy, the price of COEs - set by an open tender exercise - has been making the news, repeatedly setting record highs, pushing up the cost of owning a vehicle - and by extension, the cost of transportation all round.

In this episode, ST's podcast editor Ernest Luis hosts colleague and senior transport correspondent Lee Nian Tjoe, and Ms Ramya Ragupathi, an entrepreneur in the food industry. She runs Oh My Goodness, a food manufacturing start-up that specialises in  gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free foods.

They discuss the future and inevitable impact of record COE prices on society as Singapore is pushing for a car-lite society, and why people should not just think of COE prices as having an impact only on those who can afford a car in Singapore. 

Also, why COE prices will not plunge below the $100,000 mark, or even return to the sub-50k days.

Highlights (click/tap above):

4:13 As a food start-up owner who can't afford her own vehicle, Ms Ramya on her mix use of car-sharing, ride-hailing and MRT options

5:09 But with factories in Admiralty, Mandai, why sticking to just public transport means "time and work productivity is lost"

8:45 Why increased supply of COEs over coming months could easily be outstripped by higher demand from leasing companies, to grow ride-hailing and car-sharing services

14:15 Bearing higher costs ultimately as consumers of such services

23:27 Making sense of see-sawing motorcycle COE prices in May 2023

25:10 How this impacts gig workers, bus drivers renting bikes to get to work; Ms Ramya on her food sector workers' early morning long commute difficulties

Produced by: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg) and Paxton Pang

Edited by: Paxton Pang

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Special edition series:

True Crimes Of Asia (new): https://str.sg/i44T

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Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZn

Stop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZB

Singapore's War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa


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