Riding Rants

End of the road

For JBJ.

Not bad, there's still a holiday for him. :-)

Fewer free parking for motorcycles

I just read from an online forum that Vivo City and West Mall are changing their free-motorcycle-parking policy.

West Mall flat out refused motorcycles from entering.

Vivo City is better: $1 for the first three hours, $1 per hour after that.

Lower ERP!

News: 5 gantries won't be built

Date: 26 September 2008. Source: ST.

ERP rates in several areas will be cut by $1

THE Government has put the brakes on its ambitious ERP expansion plans.

Five out of six new electronic road-pricing gantries scheduled to be up in November will not be built.

The Land Transport Authority on Friday said that there is now no need to put up gantries in Commonwealth Avenue, Jalan Bukit Merah, Alexandra Road and Ayer Rajah Expressway (westbound).

I'm rather surprised at the turn of events. I believe the improvement in traffic is due to the high petrol prices and the poor economy.

This shows that there is a limit to what people are willing to pay for ERP. Apparently it's not very high.

Also, LTA likes to use the word holistic.

Riding lessons

Most people have a fear of the narrow plank. No wonder, it seems to be the hardest class 2B course. (It's not. U-turn is the most difficult.)

Useful tips for the narrow plank course:

  1. You need some speed to go up the plank
  2. Make sure both wheels are on the plank before slowing down
  3. Clutch in and let the bike glide, then brake lightly to slow down the bike
  4. When the bike starts to wobble, half-clutch to speed up and repeat (3)
  5. It is better to be fast (penalty) than fall down the plank (immediate failure)

Narrow plank is only difficult for class 2B bikes, due to their light weight. Class 2A and class 2 bikes are very heavy, hence they are very stable at low speeds.

HDB parking on Sunday

HDB carpark has free parking on Sundays and public holidays. Why should it be the case?

I can understand that in the past, the carpark wardens need a day off. But now, cashcard operated carparks can operate 24/7 by themselves.

Beating yellow lights!

I think I beat five yellow lights yesterday. I am getting more and more lax.

On my way home, I needed to go past a pedestrian crossing on the filter lane to PIE. I was very close to the crossing when I saw two bicycles wanting to pass through.

I quickly applied my brakes, but it was too short to stop in time. Luckily, the two cyclists stopped. I released my brakes and glided through the pedestrian crossing.

The car behind me stopped for the cyclists to cross.

Not free parking

News: Park here only if going to the park

Date: 23 September 2008. Source: Electric New Paper.

Motorists abusing free carpark scheme face fines by NParks

YOU have probably heard of bus cheats and road bullies.

Now meet the carpark abusers.

These are people who deny genuine park visitors of parking lots.

Some of them exploit the free parking services by leaving their weekend cars at the parks over the course of the day.

One less place to park for free.

There's a NPark carpark near my workplace. It is a pretty long walk — about 10 to 15 minutes — but apparently some people do use it!

Don't laugh at others, it can happen to you too!

A friend told me yesterday how his girlfriend whined to him that she took taxi but forgot to bring along her purse, so she had no money to pay the taxi driver. She then had to borrow money from a friend, and then return home to get her purse.

I thought it was improbable.

Then it happened to me. I went to the town centre for lunch and to run some errands. When I reached there, I realized I had forgotten to bring my wallet! I had to return home. In addition, I gave up a good parking lot for nothing. (My carpark is always full on Sunday.)

An unpowered IU can be detected!

It is proven: an unpowered IU can be detected! When I exited from a cashcard operated carpark, the screen flashed my IU number even though my IU was disconnected!

How fast can a battery-powered bicycle go?

I was stuck behind one for a short while — it was too dangerous to overtake. The speedometer registered 35 km/h.

CB400F headlight issue: root cause found!

My CB400F headlight worked after I fiddled with the wiring. I thought it was resolved. Unfortunately, the headlight continued to work erratically.

I stumbled on the root cause yesterday in an underground carpark. Before I start the bike, the headlight was off. When I switched it on, the headlight went off — this is normal. As the engine cranked to life, the headlight came back on. Just then, my thumb left the start button and the headlight went off.

I fiddled with the start button. The headlight went on and off. Ha, I have found the root cause!

Load on the battery

YBR125 CB400F MX-5
Off (w/ IU) 0.46mA 0.43mA 3.48mA
Off w/ cashcard 0.49mA 0.46mA ?
On 0.33A 5.61A 1.53A

The IU draws an extremely small current even when the vehicle is off. 0.46mA (note: not 0.46A) should be negligible, but the YBR125's battery still gets flat after 1 – 2 days. The CB400F has no issue even after one month of inactivity. The battery became very weak, though (12.3V to 12.1V).

Inserting a cashcard into the IU merely increases the current used by 0.03mA. The IU is pretty efficient! (When the IU's LED is lighted, it consumes about 30mA.)

I wonder why the MX-5 consumes 3.5mA. The radio and remote has been removed. Perhaps it's due to the current loss due to the longer wiring.

The CB400F consumes a staggering 5.6A when it's on due to the headlights. It's essential to switch off the bike when the engine is off.

I'm surprised the MX-5 draws 1.5A when it's on. It looks like just keeping the car on (without the engine running) will drain the battery over time too.

Sneaky carpark wardens

I was walking towards my carpark when I saw two Malay women strolling towards the carpark too. My suspicion was aroused because they seemed to be in no hurry.

The truth was finally revealed when they reached the carpark. They put on their carpark warden uniform and went around to check the cars!

It looks like they don't want people to know that they are starting their checks.

Public transport protest at Hong Lim Park

b class="keyw">The Online Citizen (TOC) is organizing a public transport hike protest today at Hong Lim Park. I wanted to go, but I felt too lazy to do so.

Moreover, I have to fix the IU for my motorcycle before I can go in (full day ERP for the Riverline gantries on Saturday).

Causeway news

News: Woodlands traffic woes to ease

Date: 11 September 2008. Source: ST.

WOODLANDS Town Centre resident Chung See Fook takes almost 30 minutes to get out of the carpark to the Bukit Timah Expressway 100m away.

Grassroots leader, Dr Maszenan Abdul Majit, needs 45 minutes to travel 200m from Admiralty onto Woodlands Centre Road.

The Woodlands town centre is a dead town anyway. Singaporeans don't go there due to the bad traffic. Malaysians will now not go there because they no longer pass by the place.

I do not think this will increase the congestion — the number of cars going into Malaysia is still the same.

A lapse in memory

I didn't ride my CB400F for over a month, hence it was no surprise that I forgot the number for the combination lock that I used to lock my helmet with.

The funny thing is, I used the lock twice (yesterday and today) on auto-pilot, but when I tried to recall the number before opening the lock this afternoon, I realized I had forgotten the combination!

It took me about half-an-hour of trial-and-error before I got the lock opened. It was a really easy to remember combination, but I had done it on auto-pilot for so long that I remembered the steps rather than the number! And I forgot the steps after one month of not using it.

Suggestion to change motorcycle cashcard parking

I sent this feedback to HDB. Let's see what they say.

Motorcyclists need to pay $0.65 per entry for a cashcard-based carpark. I know the motorcyclist is then allowed unrestricted entries to the same carpark for half a day, but whoever returns to the same carpark?

This method of charging is very unfair for motorcyclists who just need to run an errand for 5 to 15 minutes. Previously, the coupon can be reused in other carparks.

I would like to propose that motorcycles be subjected to per-minute charging, to be capped at $0.65. This would lower the cost of short duration parking significantly.

No private business in HDB carparks

News: Holland V valets to close

Date: 9 September 2008. Source: ST.

HDB puts up signs at carpark entrances banning such services

THE two carpark valet services in Holland Village, there for years, were told yesterday that they have to cease operations from today.

Having an unauthorized valet parking service in a public carpark is so out of place for Singapore.

No shortcut anymore

All good times come to an end.

The industrial park that my company is in used to be quite run-down. (It's pretty clean, though.) Ever since new tenants come in, the landlord has spiced up the place. However, it also means new restrictions.

Along with the new tenants are the many motorcycle couriers. They park at their own whims and fancy, leading the landlord to introduce very severe parking restrictions for the motorcycles.

Also, there are now pavement blockers disallowing motorcycles to go on the pavements.

Today, I noticed some mobile roadblock that disallow riders from exiting from the entrance.

This is pretty bad because the traffic just outside the exit in the evening is really bad. By exiting from the entrance, I can shave at least 5 minutes on my journey home.

An indication of KPE traffic

News: $10 CashCard for those charged wrongly at KPE gantry

Date: 5 September 2008. Source: My Paper.

A TOTAL of 538 motorists were taken by surprise on Tuesday when they went through an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantry at the new Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE).

The gantry is not meant to be operational yet, but the motorists were charged as they passed through it.

It's through news like this that you get an indication of the traffic at KPE. 538 motorists at one of the exits within a span of one hour. That's pretty high traffic.

No loophole here

News: Why pay extra for my Malaysian car?

Date: 4 September 2008. Source: TNP.

FOR the past three months, he has been thinking about retiring in Malaysia.

But there is one big road hump - the issue of car-ownership.

Retiree Mr Tan Sin Wee, 60, wants to buy a Malaysian-registered car.

Not only because it's cheaper there, he explained, but also to reduce the risk of falling prey to criminals.

This is seldom heard about: that Singaporeans can drive Malaysian cars if they pay the ARF.

Another landmark gone

News: Farewell, Labrador Villa Food Centre

Date: 2 September 2008. Source: ST.

MADAM Cheng Ah Tee has spent the past 37 years serving coffee from a drinks stall at the Labrador Villa Food Centre.

But that came to an end on Sunday when the run-down hawker centre near the corner of Alexandra and Pasir Panjang roads served its last meal.

The institution, popular for what patrons call its cheap food and old-world charm, has been closed to make way for 'future redevelopment', said a National Environment Agency spokesman.

I seldom visit this food centre despite being a stone's throw away from my office. Now it will make way for the new MRT station.

Once, I came to this place at 7am to buy my breakfast. However, it was too crowded and I left empty handed.

When the Circle line is up, I suspect some of the shuttle bus services to the MRT stations will be stopped, as there would be a MRT station at our door step.

However, it is likely that our company would have shifted out, due to rising rents. There is speculation that we are going to shift to Tuas! (The current industrial park is transforming into a backend banking hub.)

Why you can't find a seat on the MRT

When I took the MRT a while back, I tried to find out why it wasn't possible to find a seat on the MRT.

The reason is simple. There are just 50 seats in a normal cabin, but there is space for at least 84 standing passengers. This should be around 80% of peak capacity. It starts to get uncomfortable beyond that.

In other words, you're only likely to find a seat when the train is below 33% capacity.

Watch out at junctions

I was in the leftmost lane when I approached a junction with a filter lane. As I was pretty far, some of the vehicles moved out.

When I got closer, the vehicles stopped, but one of the drivers thought there was still time, so he moved out. I had to brake to a stop to avoid hitting him.

Moral of the story: look out even if it's your right of way.

Junctions that are blocked by vehicles before the junction are also very dangerous. The cars will continue to move out, and sometimes they move directly to the second lane. I try to make it a point to slow down when I approach these danger spots.

OPC cheats?

A forumer claimed that an ST article said there were 110 OPC cheats every month. This is just the caught figure. I'm surprised TP can catch so many offenders. That's 4 to 5 cases per day.

Explaining the jam at Farrer road

Like many other roads, Farrer road doesn't jam in the morning during the school holidays. However, it doesn't look like the parents use this road to send their children to school, so I don't understand why it is affected by the school holidays.

Until now.

One main cause of the traffic jam is the sole traffic light at Empress road. During school days, many cars turn out of Empress road after the parents send their children to school. The traffic light is red for a longer time. During school holidays, the traffic light is green most of the time, hence the traffic doesn't build up.

It's as simple as that.

Got drenched twice!

What a lousy day. I got drenched when I went to work, and I got drenched again when I went home.

When I went to work, I could already see dark clouds over my workplace. Midway, I could feel the cold water vapour in the air, but I didn't stop to put on my raincoat.

I entered the rain zone just 1 km away from my workplace. I decided to push on. Bad choice. It went from light rain to heavy rain, and in less than 10 seconds, I was thoroughly drenched.

I put on my raincoat before I went home as it was somewhat dark. However, I didn't wear the rainpants as I felt dorky wearing the full raincoat when it's not raining.

It rained midway. I decided not put on the rainpants as I was already a little drenched when I reached a safe place to stop. Bad choice. The rain went from light to pouring.

Lost August entries!

I lost my August entries when I overwrote the wrong files!

Luckily, I was able to retrieve an old copy from Yahoo's cache, but I still lost several entries.

Update on bike problems

My CB400F's headlight is now working, much thanks to two of my colleagues.

We took apart the headlight and the headlight low/high beam switch, measured connectivity, voltage and traced the wiring. I had checked a few days ago that the fuse and bulb were working fine.

In the end, it turned out to be loose wiring. We still don't know which wire (since there are many poorly wrapped ones), but at least we know the cause. The headlight worked after we fiddled with the wiring. I will rewrap all the wires when I find time.

My colleague had two comments. One, that the wirings seem to be all in the headlight. That is not too surprising — it's a convenient and waterproof place to put them. What was surprising was that the wirings had been cut and tampered with before. He wondered why.

I had not ridden my CB400F for three weeks due to this headlight problem!

I then looked at my YBR.

I recharged the battery and put it back. My colleague showed me how to measure current correctly. Interestingly, there was no drain, with or without the IU. If I put a cashcard into the IU, the IU's LED would light up and it drained 0.03A. It went back to 0 after the LED went off. I put the bike to 'on' and it drew 0.33A.

Anyway, I disconnected the IU to see if the battery would self-discharge over the next few days.

Maxwell market loses its shine

News: Sharp drop in business at Maxwell

Date: 19 August 2008. Source: ST.

IT USED to be tough finding a parking lot at Maxwell Food Centre in the evening.

Yesterday, marketing communications officer Lilian Lo had her pick from 12 available lots.

And in the food centre yesterday evening, The Straits Times found more than enough seats available; only a handful of the more popular stalls had queues snaking out of them.

Maxwell market used to be so crowded. Fortunes reverse very easily by external factors.

Some markets relocated due to renovation and never recovered their previous popularity. People can be very fickle-minded.

Riverline ERP makes a good punching bag

News: Chinatown ERP to be reviewed earlier

Date: 19 August 2008. Source: ST.

LTA to assess rates and timings a month sooner in response to feedback

CHINATOWN businesses hit by falling customer traffic will know by October if adjustments can be made to the timings or charges for the new road tolls in the area.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will bring its quarterly review forward by a month in response to feedback that takings by businesses in the area have dived by up to half since five gantries went live last month.

It looks like drivers are more sensitive to road pricing than I expected. I had expected drivers to go through the CBD as usual and the ERP rate to go up somemore in the next review (November).

ERP works.

Car prices now and in 2000

The Prime Minister compared the car prices in 2000 and now to justify ERP. It is quite a serious issue to be brought up in the National Day Rally.

Wasting a parking coupon

Yesterday, my brother and I went to look for a fish-n-chip store. It was supposed to open on this day, but to our disappointment, it was still closed.

My brother had already put a 50-cents parking coupon, so it was wasted as we decided to go elsewhere for dinner.

It's times like this when you prefer cashcard parking.

Across the island

Start at Bugis Junction 0 km
To NTU 30 km
To Toa Payoh 21.5 km

Marina South to Toa Payoh by plane

I have heard the planes flying past Toa Payoh for the past 2 or 3 weekends. Apparently Toa Payoh is part of their flight path after flying past Marina South.

Today, watching the live telecast of the NDP, I realized just how fast the planes were moving. After the planes flew past Marina South (on TV), I could hear them fly over the roof just five seconds later.

Speculators abound

News: Revised data show speculators controlled nearly half of NYMEX oil futures

Date: 5 August 2008. Source: Financial Week.

CFTC data also reveals one trader controlled 10% of oil futures on exchange

A quiet data revision that has boosted by nearly 25% the number of oil futures contracts U.S. regulators think are held by speculators. And that revelation is raising eyebrows in the energy trading community.

The revision means that speculators controlled 48% of the open interest in NYMEX crude oil futures and options as of July 15 — compared with just over 38% under the previous classification.

So oil prices were driven up by oil speculators.

Pump price downwards trend

Pump prices went down six times consecutively this month. RON98 went from a high of $2.36 in early July to $2.07 now.

An oil speculator went bankrupt in July. Prices have been dropping since. Don't tell me it's not a coincidence.

Why pump prices are the same

News: Pump price war on?

Date: 7 August 2008. Source: CNA.

For the first time in the recent series of pump price cuts, local stations lowered prices twice in a day, sparking off what could be a price war and countering talk of collusion among oil companies.

Falling wholesale pump prices — and not crude oil futures, as is often thought — are behind the general reduction. But what appears to have upped the ante for pump operators yesterday, is the keen competition for drivers' dollars in the small local market.

I don't see why pump prices should be different. Same pump price doesn't mean that the oil companies are not competing against one another.

What happens is that a major oil company will set a price and then others will follow. They usually do. However, if they don't, the major oil company will drop its price.

There are two questions, of course.

  • Why does the major oil company have to revert the price if no one follows them?
  • Does 1 to 2 cents difference (per litre) matter?

HDB Hub no longer has free bike parking

I went to the HDB Hub carpark today and was surprised to find the barrier extended all the way to the left. There is no more free entry for bikes.

I was charged $0.65 when I exited. As bikes are per-entry, this means it could be cheaper to drive if I were just ordering meals to-go.

It is possible to buy a meal within the 10-minutes grace period, but it requires extremely good timing.

This is definitely bad news. I have one less place to go for my meals.

Driving on the road shoulder

I encountered a driver who drove on the road shoulder today and it made me realize most people do not use it. When entering the expressway, all the drivers will try to merge with the leftmost lane and people generally let them in.

The fine is not very severe, at $130 and 4 demerit points.

I have a bad habit when I encounter severe jams in PIE on my way home from office. I like to cut in from the 4th lane, which is an exit-only lane, to the 3rd lane at the very last minute. Most of the time, I need to cross the road divider. That carries the same fine of $130 and 4 demerit points.

Taking shuttle bus

My company provides a shuttle bus service to the nearest two MRT stations.

If you live near one of the MRT stations, you are able to save on transport costs entirely — if you conform to the shuttle bus timing.

This is harder than it seems because the schedule in the morning is from 8 am to 8:45 am.

I expect the service will be removed once the Circle line comes up, as my company is "just beside" one of the Circle line stations. (Or, the shuttle bus would just go to the Circle line MRT station.)

Taking the shuttle bus instead of the public bus will save you $31 to $37 per month. ($0.70 or 0.85 x 2 x 21.7)

"Drop me off at the bus stop/MRT station"

I drove a colleague "home" after our first post-office hours gaming session in office. One of my colleagues had a pretty large games collection by this time, so he decided there was no point going to a board game cafe to try new games.

My colleague told me to drop her off at the MRT station, whereas it wouldn't make a difference if I dropped her closer to her flat — I'm quite familiar with the roads there and all are equally convenient for me.

But my colleague didn't know that, so she thought the MRT station was a good place for me. I estimate it's a 10-minutes walk for her.

Non-drivers tend to think in terms of bus stops and MRT stations. Personally, I prefer not to drop people off at these locations; there's usually a lot of traffic.

Crossing on yellow light

I crossed the same traffic light on a yellow twice this week. This traffic light has a red light camera. Beating red light carries a fine of $200 and 12 demerit points.

$200 is short term pain, but it'll take at least 2 years to erase the demerit points from your record.

I am getting complacent. I should slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching a green traffic light. And I must remember to check the rear mirror before actually attempting to stop.

Renewing COE

My CB400F's COE expires on 10 August 2008.

I have a choice of renewing using the July's PQP at $1,125 or the August's PQP at $1,271.

I chose to renew it today, on the last day of July, so that I can choose July's PQP.

I lost 10 days of COE. However, if I renew using August's PQP, I would have to pay $14.60 for each of the ten days. Not worth it at all.

PQP for motorcycles has been uptrending for the past few months. In April, it was $996. In May, it was 1,071. I'm already paying $129 extra for three additional months.

Bike problems

Now both my bikes have problems.

My YBR is a battery killer. I have yet to find the cause, but I'm determined to find it in the next few weeks.

My CB400F's headlight died suddenly. It's not a clear case that the bulb burnt out.

Sequence of events:

  • I switched on the bike, the headlight came on.
  • I started the ignition, the headlight went off. I thought the bulb blew.
  • I rode to work. Halfway, the light came on again!
  • When I reached office and I turned off the bike and on again, the headlight remained off.

A mechanically-inclined friend asked me to check the bulb and the fuse. I've yet to do so.


I created a poll in a local bike forum asking if I should get TP or TPFT for my 10-year old 400cc bike worth $3,000, excluding COE.

TPFT – $240+
TP – $140+
Savings – $95

Votes were about 50-50, although everyone who replied favoured TPFT.

To some people, skipping fire and theft insurance to save $95 for a $3,000 bike is being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

It's all about risk.

Why I think the risk is low for me:

  • It's not a hot bike
  • I don't ride it to JB (risk of theft)
  • I don't stay in arson-prone areas (risk of fire)
  • I don't ride it very often (twice a week)
  • I believe the parking location is safe

I called up a few insurers and NTUC Income is the only one offering TPFT for bikes older than 10 years old.

I also confirmed that it is possible to revert to TPFT at a future date. (Just in case they allow people to downgrade, but not upgrade.)

Time to increase parking charges

News: S'pore parking not as costly as in other cities

Date: 28 July 2008. Source: ST.

SINGAPORE cars may be among the world's most expensive, but parking in prime areas here is far less taxing on the wallet.

Drivers here pay far less than their counterparts in cities such as London, Sydney or Tokyo, according to the first major survey of parking charges worldwide.

Property consultant Colliers International, which did the study, ranked Singapore 52 out of 138 cities for how much drivers paid to score a lot in the city centre for a day.

ST always give hints before the actual event.

Low season parking doesn't prove anything. Season parking is often kept lower than what it's worth for many reasons. Just witness the long waiting list. If it's really at market value, there would be no waiting list.

4 easy cheats

It's really easy to commit these offences "unwittingly":

  • Parking coupon ($30)
  • OPC coupon ($5,000)
  • Bus lane ($130)
  • Less than 3/4 tank ($500)

Cheating is much more serious:

  • Parking coupon ($300)
  • OPC coupon (court case; $10,000)
  • Tampered fuel meter (court case)

$130 express lane

News: Bus-lane offences down 40%

Date: 23 July 2008. Source: ST.

Bus-mounted cameras an effective deterrent

THE number of motorists straying into bus lanes has dived since cameras were mounted on buses to catch errant drivers in the act.

A total of 1,619 bus-lane offences were recorded last month, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

This is a 40 per cent drop from May, when 2,677 summonses were handed out.

Use the bus lane at your own risk. And never drop anyone off while in a bus lane.

I now realize that full day bus lane can be an effective way to prevent illegal parking/stopping. $130 per stop. Not many people would risk it.

Illegal parking/stopping is one big reason why the roads are jammed, so more full day bus lanes, please!

$25k instead of $17k rebate for OPC?

An online poster was upset with the recent road tax rebate because he still needed to pay $50 for his OPC car when he should not need to pay anything. (Minimum OPC road tax is $50.)

In a way, he lost out. But that is only if you assume the OPC rebate is $17k + $800 * 10 = $25k.

However, the OPC rebate is $17k + up to $800/year * 10.

A poor man's unified taxi booking number

News: Need a taxi? Just call 6-DIAL-CAB

Date: 17 July 2008. Source: ST.

ONE telephone number is all you need to remember if you need to call a taxi from next week.

Call 6-3425-222 or tap out the alphabetical prompter 6-DIAL-CAB.

This is way overdue, but the implementation is pretty poor. We need a real unified call number.

Bikes on fire again

News: Fire damages 14 vehicles in multi-storey car park

Date: 14 July 2008. Source: ST.

A FIRE tore through a Woodlands carpark on Sunday night, damaging 11 motorcycles and three cars, said police.

There are really bike haters in the north.

Let me iterate: never park your car beside motorcycles.

This news come at a time when I am considering whether to change my CB400F insurance from TPFT to TP to save $95.

The paradox of ERP

Although the new ERP charges will help to lower the traffic in CBD, the roads just outside CBD remain just as congested. You may not save much time if you need to enter CBD.

I noticed this in the past at Orchard road. It took me 20+ minutes to enter Orchard road, then it was plain sailing.

No loss in changing car?

From time to time, it's possible to have a pricing "anomaly" that allows you to change car without any additional expense, or so it seems. How do you take advantage of it?

For the old car:

  • High OMV
  • High paper value (PARF and COE)
  • High dealer margin
  • Large downpayment
  • Low or no loan
  • Short loan tenure

The more conditions your old car meet, the higher its effective value.

For the new car:

  • Low OMV
  • Low paper value
  • Low dealer margin
  • Low or no downpayment
  • Large or full loan
  • Long loan tenure
  • OPC

The more conditions your new car meet, the lower its effective value.

Most people can do this once, especially if they change to a lower-end car, an EOL car, or an OPC car.

It usually seems like a good deal because you have "extended" your car's COE while paying the same installment amount.

The catch is, you have lost whatever you have put in for your old car. For cars 3 years and less, it usually works out to be around $10k per year.

This is a very significant loss.

Taking the MRT

I wanted to go Orchard road, but I didn't want to ride my motorcycle there, so I rode to Toa Payoh Central and took the MRT from there.

11:00 am Left home
11:13 am At Toa Payoh MRT station
11:15 am On the train
11:23 am Reached Orchard MRT station
6:45 pm At Somerset MRT station
6:50 pm On the train
7:00 am At Toa Payoh MRT station
7:13 am Reached home

This time I'm smart. I rode to the Central so that I could ride home. The last time I took the MRT, I took 30 minutes to walk home.

An almost parking fine

I brought a small pail of water to the MSCP to wash my bike. A small pail is enough because I am merely rinsing off the dirt, no soap involved.

I went to my car first to get the scoop. When I left the car, I saw two parking wardens at a distance. Oh no! I quickly went to my bike to tear off the day/night tab. It was 9:10 pm.

I contemplated leaving it untorn to see if I would be fined. Nay, better not.

Needless to say, I went back home without washing my bike. No point "challenging" the wardens to fine me.

Express trains

One big limitation of the MRT system is that there is only one track per direction. There is limited room for expansion as SMRT is already claiming that it is running at maximum efficiency during peak hours.

We need a cheap way to add express trains.

One way is to allow express trains overtake the normal trains at the train station using the track in the other direction. This requires timing the trains very accurately.

One side benefit is that normal trains can be turned around more easily to serve the other direction.

Fish net is not secure

I have lost two items using the fish net on my CB400F already.

A few months ago, I "secured" my specs box with the fish net. When I arrived at my destination, it was no longer present. I was not really surprised, but I was annoyed with myself.

Today, I secured a water bottle with the fish net and went to office. When I reached office, it was no longer present. I was surprised. How could a medium-sized water bottle slip through the fish net so easily?

It looks like I must not take it for granted that the fish net is secure.

Also, load falling off from a vehicle carries a fine of $150 and 6 demerit points.

Bus fares will go up

News: PTC tweaks formula for adjusting public transport fares

Date: 10 July 2008. Source: CNA.

Another round of public transport fare hikes is likely this year, but commuters can expect the rise to be cushioned by a new fare structure formula.

One group of commuters who stands to benefit are those who make multiple transfer journeys.

The current bus fare structure encourages the commuter to minimise the transfers. In other words, it's better to opt to take one bus that goes a longer route than two buses that go a shorter route.

The bus fare is capped at $1.58 (for ez-link on air-con bus; the most common bus and payment method today). This is insanely cheap if you travel more than 10 km. I believe it will increase to $2 at least.

The maximum fare for a journey (including transfers) is also capped at $1.90. I believe this will also be increased to $3 or $4.

Drastic increase for motorcycle COE!

News: COE prices for all categories up in latest bidding exercise

Date: 9 July 2008. Source: CNA.

COE prices for all categories of vehicles went up in the latest bidding exercise ended on Wednesday.

It looks like motorcycle COE has gone up. I must renew my COE this month. Otherwise, next month I am likely to pay $150 more.

$4 deter motorists, for now

News: Smoother ride across new Singapore River gantries

Date: 9 July 2008. Source: ST.

Traffic down 30%, speeds up; LTA says it's an encouraging sign

DRIVING through the city was a lot smoother on Monday, the first day that new Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries went up in the Central Business District (CBD).

The volume of traffic dropped along roads that are normally heavily used by people cutting through the Singapore River area to get home, or elsewhere, and speeds rose as a result.

Happy days are here, if you can afford the $4 charges ($2 to enter CBD and $2 to cross the riverline ERP gantries).

No time to be a hero

I went to the Bishan library at around 8 pm and wanted to park on the pavement behind the library — my usual spot — to save on parking. However, there were no bikes there. This was somewhat unusual.

After pondering for a while, I decided not to be a hero and went to park at the MSCP instead. Well, better 65 cents than $70.


News: ERP? Aren't COEs meant to check car population?

Date: 7 July 2008. Source: ST.

I AM confused and annoyed by policies affecting car ownership in Singapore. As a motorist, I am of the view that there are more and more cars on the roads nowadays, so the Government has to set up more Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries and raise ERP rates to control traffic.

Mr Tan is the one confused here. It's clear to me the purpose of COE and ERP.

Unlike Mr Tan, I prefer cheaper cars because I use my car sparingly.

Anyway, times have changed. It's time to go with the flow. All of us who are caught in the transition to the full ERP system will be shortchanged somewhat. Nothing can change that.

Beep, beep, beep!

News: Expect to see more of these gantries in coming months

Date: 7 July 2008. Source: ST.

New KPE will have 16, taking grand total from 60 to more than 80

EVEN as motorists cope with five fresh electronic road-pricing (ERP) gantries along the Singapore River and extended operating hours at others in the city from this week, more gantries are set to come onstream.

Besides the half dozen announced for spots along roads such as Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandra Road and Serangoon Road - to go up by November - 16 more are planned for the new Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), which will run 12km from East Coast Parkway in the south to Tampines Expressway in the north. Three quarters of it will run underground.

When it opens fully on Sept 20, it will have the most ERP gantries among all roads here.

This is really unbelievable. 16 gantries over 12 km. That would be at least $32 if they are all turned on. (But I believe most of them are at entries and exits, so it's impossible to drive through all of them in one go.)

Queue cutters beware

News: Jump queue at checkpoint? Think again

Date: 7 July 2008. Source: ST.

Within a week of camera going up, 137 motorists snapped crossing double white lines at Woodlands

MOTORISTS who cut the snaking queues at the Woodlands Checkpoint will now be caught on camera.

After repeated complaints from the public, the Traffic Police installed a surveillance camera on a lamp post along the viaduct towards the Woodlands Checkpoint from the Bukit Timah Expressway on June 17.

While queue-jumping per se is not a traffic offence, the roads where the cars line up to clear checks at the Causeway have double white lines and crossing them is banned.

No wonder I observed drivers cutting in before they reached the top of the bridge last Saturday.

I was stuck in the jam for 30 minutes despite reaching the causeway at 6:23 am.

Cat shit!

What an unlucky day — I got cat shit on my tyres when I entered my car park! I basically ran over the freshly laid cat shit. I got the full brunt of it on the front right tyre and a little on the rear right tyre. The smell was overwhelming in the cabin.

What kind of cat defecate in the middle of the road?

Luckily, I had two small bottles of water in the car and I promptly washed the shit off. They weren't enough.

I went up to get a small pail and tried to rinse the shit off. Some still stuck in the grooves.

Then, I remembered I had a bottle with a sprayer. It was meant to water plants, but I got it for some other purposes. I brought it down and used it to spray the shit off. It took a while, but I think I managed to wash most of it off.

The stench was overwhelming.

Bus fare to not go up as much

News: New formula for public transport fare revision to be out this week

Date: 1 July 2008. Source: ST.

A NEW formula for annual public transport fare adjustments is expected to be announced this week.

Looks like PTC is trying not to increase public transport costs. That's good.

Caught in the rain

Yesterday, I rode my CB400F home and was caught in the rain midway.

I could see mist ahead and feel some raindrops, but the giveaway was the riders stopping by the side of the road to change into their rain gear.

How do they tell so clearly? This is something I need to learn.

What a pillion rider needs to know

Riders are taught how to pillion because it changes the bike handling. There are three main differences:

  • It is easier to lose balance, especially when moving off and stopping
  • It is harder to move off
  • It is much harder to stop

The rider must ride much more conservatively than his usual riding style. The rider must also adjust the side mirrors. I always forget to do this.

Being a pillion rider is not as easy as being a car passenger. What a pillion rider must know:

  • Wait for permission to get on and off the bike
  • How to get on and off the bike
  • No sudden movement
  • Lean with the rider

It is essential to wait for permission to get on and off the bike because the rider needs to make sure the bike is properly balanced. The rider also needs to apply the brakes so that the wheels will not move.

I'm surprised that many people don't know how to get on and off the bike as a pillion rider. Interestingly, this is taught in the riding school — there are a few proper techniques. The rider has to tell the pillion rider how to do it properly.

The pillion rider must not make any sudden movement to avoid unbalancing the bike. While the bike will not fall, it will wobble and it distracts the rider from the road situation. (When the rider is attempting to re-balance the bike, he is not looking out for traffic.)

What most people don't realize is the importance of leaning with the rider when he corners. If the pillion rider attempts to counter lean, the rider has to go even lower to corner properly. If the pillion rider now sits up straight, the bike will go lower and may even fall.

A rider should not lean too much when cornering until the pillion rider is comfortable with leaning.

PARF = cash

News: Car owners can encash PARF and COE rebates from September

Date: 1 July 2008. Source: CNA.

Car owners will now have the option to exchange their Preferential Additional Registration Fee (PARF) and the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) rebates for cash.

The change follows a government review of the rebates to make it easier for motorists to give up their cars and switch to public transport.

I believe the price for second hand cars will rise slightly.

Does this change means an end to the secondary PARF market where dealers buy over the PARF at a discount?

I foresee that ARF will be done away in the future. Once you can get back PARF as real cash, it is like putting down a deposit of 50% of OMV and only paying for an ARF of 50% (of OMV).

The only reason for ARF is to make cars expensive to own upfront. With 10 years loan and 0% downpayment, cars can be cheap to own. ARF at 100% OMV does not work.

Farrer road jam is back!

The difference is so striking. It was still pretty okay yesterday. But it jammed rather badly today — even at 7:15 am.