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Let senior citizens renew COE for a small fee: letter writer

cars

 

With the Government extending a helping hand to pioneers in the area of healthcare, through the Pioneer Generation Package, at least one senior citizen is calling on the Government to do more in another area which the elderly are concerned about – transport.

Allow a one-time extension of 10 years for pioneers' old cars, Mr Shankar Rajan, who describes himself as a member of Singapore’s pioneer generation, wrote in a letter to the press on Monday.

This, he said, will allow Singapore’s senior citizens to have some peace of mind and not to have to “worry about what we will do when the 10 years are up.”

“COE prices are now very high, so a new car is out of the question, but paying to extend the COE is also very costly,” he said.

There is a good reason why the Government should consider granting his request.

“Most seniors like me use our cars when we buy groceries,” Mr Shankar said. “It is not practical for us to carry groceries and walk to the bus stop or MRT station.”

He said that while the public transport system here is “reasonably good”, not all seniors can easily access and travel by bus or MRT.

“Taking taxis is too expensive,” he added.

Mr Shankar said he “never understood the logic of paying again to retain our cars.”

“After all, we are not adding to the car population.”

Nonetheless, he said that if the seniors must pay a fee there should be some limitations to the amount.

“[It] should be an administrative or re-registration fee of between $1,000 and $2,000,” he suggested.

Mr Shankar added that this should be subject to certain conditions too.

“It should apply to Singaporeans aged 65 and older; there should be just one vehicle registered in the pioneer's name; there should be only one car registered under the pioneer's home address or company address.”

These, he said, will “prevent people from taking advantage of the concession.”

Meantime, the Government had eased travel restrictions for the elderly who travelled with concessionary fares on public transport.

The concessions – a 25 per cent discount on fares - were limited to certain non-peak hours of the day initially but were extended to full-day in 2011.

From 2014, the elderly also had a concessionary S$60 pass which they could use for unlimited travels.

However, some Members of Parliament have urged the authorities to grant free all-day public transport travel for senior citizens.

“I’m not sure how much it’ll cost,” MP for Mountbatten, Lim Biow Chuan, said last August, “but I think it is something we should explore and if it is something we can afford, then we should do it.”

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Mr Shankar's letter to the Straits Times, in full:

ON BEHALF of the pioneer generation, I extend our gratitude to the Government for taking care of our medical needs.

At the risk of sounding greedy, I would like to address another of my generation's needs - transport.

The public transport system here is reasonably good, but not all seniors can easily access and travel by bus or MRT. Taking taxis is too expensive.

Many pioneers like me own cars with certificates of entitlement due to expire in the next few years, and we worry about what we will do when the 10 years are up. COE prices are now very high, so a new car is out of the question, but paying to extend the COE is also very costly.

Most seniors like me use our cars when we buy groceries. It is not practical for us to carry groceries and walk to the bus stop or MRT station.

I suggest that the Government allow a one-time extension of 10 years for pioneers' old cars.

I have never understood the logic of paying again to retain our cars. After all, we are not adding to the car population. However, if we must pay a fee, it should be an administrative or re-registration fee of between $1,000 and $2,000, subject to these conditions: It should apply to Singaporeans aged 65 and older; there should be just one vehicle registered in the pioneer's name; there should be only one car registered under the pioneer's home address or company address.

Such conditions will prevent people from taking advantage of the concession.

Shankar Rajan