I'm going to paste this notice at my carpark:
Please do not feed the cats in the carpark.
Unless you clear their shit as well!
I'm still working on the second sentence. I need to translate this to Chinese too.
I don't mind cats in the carpark otherwise. I don't even care that they sleep on top of my car and leave their fur behind. (So long it's only their fur and nothing else!)
Some drivers dislike cats because they think the cat's paws will scratch the car. However, I don't see any evidence of that.
The CB400F has 4 keys: one for the ignition, one for the fuel tank and side panel, one for the side hook and one for the 2nd helmet lock. (I use a numeric lock for the first helmet lock.)
I'm going to remove the side hook and helmet lock keys, as I almost never use them.
The YBR requires 3 keys: one for the ignition, one for the box and one for the helmet lock. I can't get rid of any of them.
The MX-5 only has one key.
When I changed the tyres for the CB400F, the workshop's technician said the bike was very heavy and proceeded to pump 270 kpascal (39 psi) to the rear tyre!
I thought the manual specified 185 kpascal for front and 195 kpascal for rear. However, a check shows that I'm wrong! The manual stated 200 kpascal for front (29 psi) and 225 kpascal (32 psi) for rear.
I must have been confused with the YBR.
Not just because the tyre pressure is specified for cold tyres.
I accidentially scalded myself when I brushed against the exhaust pipe. It's painful, I tell you.
Update: the mark is still there after two weeks.
A TRAFFIC police officer, who stopped to help the driver of a broken-down van, was knocked down by a lorry along the Bukit Timah Expressway yesterday afternoon.
The 23-year-old corporal had pulled up on the road shoulder behind the van, near the Dairy Farm exit, to help the 52-year-old van driver, when they were struck by an out-of-control lorry. Both men were standing behind the van when they were hit by the lorry.
The 23-year-old lorry driver had lost control of his vehicle while travelling in the left lane. The lorry skidded before crashing into the men and the two stationary vehicles.
The impact sent the van hurtling towards the centre road divider, while the bike was left in a mangled heap on the side of the expressway. Glass, plastic and rubber debris were strewn across the road.
Both the officer and the van driver were taken, in a conscious state, to the National University Hospital. The officer suffered multiple abrasions and hand injuries, while the van driver had cuts to his head and leg.
The lorry driver suffered minor cuts. He remained behind at the scene of the accident but declined to comment about the incident.
It's not safe to stop on the road shoulder. I don't see how anyone can miss a stopped vehicle, but there are some dumb drivers out there.
If you really need to stop, go past the barrier before you do anything else. Never stand beside or behind your vehicle.
I must admit that if I were caught in the rain, I would stop and put on my raincoat without observing the proper procedures. Maybe I should.
After I pumped petrol today, I was unable to get the receipt from the machine. (I use speedpass, so I pay by GIRO monthly.) I thought it was out of paper, so I asked a kiosk personnel for help. After trying it, he then told me my transaction wasn't registered properly and asked me to pay inside.
I then went in to pay at the counter. Both of them praised me for being honest.
Well, sometimes you can be accidentally honest.
A MAN who dashed across the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) yesterday evening created chaos which led to five vehicles crashing near the Toh Guan exit.
The aftermath of the series of collisions across the three-lane expressway left one motorcyclist pinned under a lorry. The 53-year-old man died soon after.
Aircraft service engineer Alvin Tan, 45, who was in one of the cars involved, said the man who ran across the expressway was hit by another car which flung him into the lane he was travelling on.
Mr Tan said he slowed down to avoid hitting him, but the motorcycle behind him bumped his car and the motorcyclist ended up being struck by the lorry.
The 28-year-old man who ran across the road suffered slight abrasions and was arrested for his rash act.
Now you must watch out for jaywalkers on expressways too.
I went to AMK Hub to buy something. I wasn't sure if the parking was free for motorcycle, so I decided to try my luck. I didn't want to park at the open air HDB carpark as it was drizzling.
Bad choice. It wasn't free. What's more, I was charged the same as a car: $1.10 for the first hour. (I left within an hour.)
My YBR's tachometer has fungus growth. It has been that way a year after I bought the bike. I finally decided to do something about it today.
I tried to get the cover open. I couldn't. It doesn't look like it can be opened.
Then, I happened to pull the speedometer cover and it gave way partially — one side of it was broken! It was starting to have some fungus growth, so I wanted to clean it too. After considering that I had to super-glue the cover back anyway, I pulled it open.
I got a surprise when I tried to wipe the fungus away. I smeared the whole cover instead. It wasn't fungus, it was glue! So it was glue leaking from the seals, not fungus!
In the end, I had to rinse the cover with water and scrubbed the glue away lightly. I then super-glued the cover back. I hope it sticks.
I'm not going to touch the tachometer for now.
This side of my boot leaks in prolonged heavy rain. I put newspaper in the boot (angled) as a precaution and that pin-pointed the source of the leak.
Today, I poured 1.5L of water down the side and not a single drop ended in the boot. I was puzzled. Was 1.5L too little? Or perhaps it didn't leak the way I expected it to?
Perhaps the water didn't leak under the rubber, as I thought, but splashed over it. I don't find that likely, though.
My windscreen has very stubborn water stains. I have tried several methods to remove them, all to no avail:
The last one did help to reduce some of the water stains.
I don't believe that the water stains are etched onto the windscreen.
For a long time, I just take a small pail of water from my home and rinsed the dirt off my bikes. They are seldom so dirty that I need to use soap.
One reason I don't use the 20-cents water outlet at the carpark is because it gives way too much water for washing one bike.
So yesterday, I used a different approach. I decided to wash both bikes together. Both bikes were very dusty. (I usually wash bikes alternately, every 2 weeks or so.)
There was just sufficient water to give both bikes a good rinse. I didn't use soap, as there wasn't enough water to do so. In the future, I may use soap, but sparingly.
I may need to get a bigger pail too. I lost a bit of water because my 2 containers were too small.
Losing a bit of water when I wash one bike is not a big deal. I have too much water anyway. But when it is just enough for two bikes, every drop counts.
A colleague remarked to me that she paid an indian cleaner to clean her car everyday, at the cost of $30+ per month.
$30+/month works out to be $1.10/day! I'm too cheapo to pay for such a service. I'll rather do the job myself. I just bought a feather duster so that I could dust off the dust every 2 to 3 days. (I seldom drive my car.)
On the other hand, I think the cleaning service is a good side-business. $1 per car is very good money! We are talking about just wiping the car here, not any fancy shampoo and polish.
Suppose you clean 10 cars per carpark (I expect the takeup rate to be pretty low), you just need to do 3 carparks and you'll earn an additional $30 per day, or $900 per month! This should take you just 2 to 3 hours daily.
Motorists in Singapore are set to pay higher insurance premiums soon, with insurers suffering record losses in 2008.
Numbers from the General Insurance Association showed that the motor sector booked record losses of S$214 million last year. That brought down overall underwriting profits for the insurance industry by more than half to just S$50.8 million.
The association said inflated claims blew up record losses for motor insurers.
Insurers paid out S$742 million in claims in 2008 compared to S$582 million in 2007 as there was an increase in younger drivers getting into accidents with personal injuries.
But the association added that losses went down by about 10 per cent in the last two quarters of 2008 after it implemented the Motor Claims Framework in June to help reduce disputed claims.
Pui Phusangmook, Senior VP, General Insurance Division, NTUC Income, said: "We're trying to control the claims on our side. We try to settle directly with our customers or claimants without using lawyers. So by doing that, we'll save legal fees and that can be passed on as a savings as well."
Still, premiums are expected to rise. The average premium for motor insurance in 2008 was about S$1,000, a 15 per cent increase year-on-year and the highest average in the last five years.
Insurance companies said that amount is expected to go up by about 10 to 20 per cent in 2009 in light of the losses they incurred in 2008.
Overall, the industry's gross premium income rose by 16 per cent to S$2.88 billion.
Health insurance gained over 250 per cent in profits, while gross premiums for personal accident insurance went up by 11 per cent.
Mr Pui continued: "Last year, NTUC Income had a healthy growth of 15 per cent for this class of business (Personal Accident and Travel), and for this year, we want to expand our distribution channels. We want to work more with banks, credit card companies and affinity groups.
"Some of the travel products don't cover catastrophes. So we'll be revamping our products to cover certain benefits and increase some benefits as well."
Derek Teo, president, General Insurance Association, said: "The personal accident, travel and health insurance sectors have shown very prominent growth trends and are likely to continue into 2009.
"As for the commercial business, I think cargo is one class that could be severely impacted because of worldwide economic downtrend - less exports moving off from country to country."
Profits for cargo insurance went down by about 10 per cent in 2008.
Lose money every year, yah, I believe.
Motor insurance is easy money. Just raise the premiums. The insurance companies have no incentive to contain their costs.
A simple solution is to allow NCD to go up to 70% or more so that safe drivers are not penalized. Let the inexperienced and the accident-prone bear the costs, as they should be.
Also, I don't think NCD is working in terms of getting drivers to drive safely. We need better incentives:
One, give some premium back after 3 years of non-claim.
Two, instead of 10% NCD increase every year, make it 5% for the first 3 years and then 50% straightaway.
I was in the middle of the leftmost lane of KPE, about to exit to PIE. I noticed a car approaching me from my right just as he was overtaking me.
What he did next was unbelievable.
He glided into my lane as if I weren't there, forcing me onto the road shoulder!
Did he expect me to brake to let him in? (I was maintaining a constant speed.)
There was ample space to overtake me, as there was a considerable gap to the vehicle in front.
It is times like this that I wished I have video recording. Very soon...
I saw a BMW ad on the local papers: BMW 3 series at $333/month for 12 months, or BMW 5 series at $555/month for 18 months. Of course, they neglected to mention the installment amount after that, so I called up to ask.
For the BMW 3 series, you need a downpayment of $12,000 and installments of $1,100/month for the next 9 years. You'll pay a total of $134,796. For the BMW 5 series, you need a downpayment of $16,000 and installments of $1,400/month for the next 8.5 years. You'll pay a total of $168,790.
I was told it's possible to "overtrade" the downpayment even if I don't own a car, meaning no downpayment!
Both prices seem to be on the low side, because the BMW 320i lists for $131.8k and that's before interest! (The BMW 520i lists for $170.8k.)
I suspect I was given the wrong installment amount. The installment should revert to $1,303/month for the BMW 3 and $1,688/month for the BMW 5. (Interest rate of 3% pa.)
Paying 10-year installments for a car is just like renting it, except that you can't choose to end it easily. Due to the rule of 78, it s not very cost-effective to redeem a car loan after 1/3 into the loan period. (You have paid 50% of the interests by then.)
A poster asked whether she should take up riding on a car forum. Her husband disagreed, so she's out to get other people's views. Not surprisingly, most posters were against it.
I wrote this:
It's best to take motorcycle lessons in the evening or at night. I took only one lesson in the morning to familiarize myself with the weather/lighting — TP test is in the morning — and it was terrible. It's okay when you're on the move, but it's very hot when you are queuing up. (And you need to queue up a lot.)
I feel it is useful to learn to ride a motorcycle even though you have no intention to ride outside. As a poster said, it'll make you a better driver. Another thing is, you'll never know when you'll need to ride a bike. It's not like you can get your license in one month or so. You need 3 to 6 months, and it's not like you will finish your lessons — it is depressing in the middle when you keep failing and failing the same lesson. I took 3 times to pass the lane changing lesson. Can you imagine that?
A casual friend remarked to me once that he took only one lesson and found that it was easy to ride a bike, so he didn't continue. He is wrong. The bike school doesn't merely teach you how to ride. It teaches you SAFETY. It's not the school's fault that most riders forget this once they leave the school.
The Toa Payoh North flyover never fails to jam in the evening. Many cars try to turn into it from Lorong 1, from both directions.
I haven't figured out why so many cars try to turn into the flyover. Where are they going? Thomson road? Or CTE?
CTE is more likely because the drivers would have avoided the two north-bound ERP gantries on CTE if they enter at Braddell road.
According to my brother, Thomson road also jams badly in the evening, so many cars use that stretch too.
I'm in favour of putting a northbound ERP gantry before the flyover. There is already one, but it is meant for drivers who enter Toa Payoh in the morning.
I'm happy to report that the CB400F is now much cooler after I topped up the oil.
Previously, the engine emitted so much heat that it was uncomfortablely hot after, say, 10 minutes of riding. Now, I can ride for over 20 minutes and I still don't feel the heat from the engine.
This is the case even when I'm wearing shorts. I can't really feel the heat when I'm wearing jeans.
The two carparks side-by-side the temporary market at Bugis shows a very interesting phenomenon.
The temporary market uses cashcard parking, but is free for motorbikes. Car lots are only 60% in use, but bike lots are full (and overflowing).
The URA carpark is coupon based. Car lots are always full with waiting cars, but bike lots are just 80% full.
The only reason I can think of is that you can fudge the time using coupons.
When I go to SLS, I try not to enter the CBD because the charges are too expensive — $1.50 for bikes. I try to park just outside it. There are two main places to park: free parking at the temporary market and coupon parking at the adjacent URA carpark.
The bike lots at the temporary market are now always full. It wasn't the case previously, but now people are more familiar with the place and now everyone tries to park there.
I don't dare to park illegally there ($25 fine) and always choose to park at the URA carpark for 65 cents instead. So far, I've been able to find a lot, but the URA carpark is close to full too. It looks like I need to find alternative parking places.
The situation at Orchard road is the same. There is a URA carpark behind Wheelock place. It is just outside the restricted zone and is perpetually full.
The last time I went there, I saw that it was usual for 3 bikes to share 2 lots. Despite that, the carpark was still full!
Bikers will try their best not to pay the ERP if possible. I'm willing to walk from Wheelock to Kino, but no further.
I was surprised to receive a letter from LTA. What could it be?
A notice of late payment of road tax!
Oh no, I forgot to pay my road tax for my CB400F!
Worse, I even forgot to go for inspection, so I couldn't renew online.
Luckily, it was still insured, so I could still ride to an inspection centre. If I get caught, it's just a regular fine, not a suspension.
I usually go for inspection at the end of January, but because it was the Chinese New Year this year, I forgot about it and then it slipped my mind totally.
Man fined, banned for letting friend drive his car with no insurance cover
THE car moved at a walking pace for no more than two car lengths. That short trip cost a man $500 and a one-year disqualification from driving.
Car owner Leo Chin Hao, 38, had let his friend try her hand at driving his car at the National Stadium carpark.
It moved at a 'slower than walking' pace for 10m before he and friend Christina Pan were booked by two traffic cops for allowing her to use his car without insurance cover.
Ms Pan was also booked for driving without a licence.
Both were fined $500 and disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 12 months for all classes of vehicles.
The incident took place on 8 Apr last year at about 10.45pm at Carpark F at Stadium Walk, next to the Indoor Stadium at Kallang.
According to Mr Chin Hao, Ms Pan was planning to take driving lessons and he had merely wanted to let her 'have a feel of driving a manual car'.
He drove to a 'deserted and empty' part of the carpark and showed her how to drive it.
She then got behind the wheel and drove it, while he sat next to her in the front passenger seat.
He claimed that the car was 'moving at an extremely slow speed, even slower than walking, on first gear'.
Two traffic policemen who were at the scene noticed the jerking movement of the car and approached the pair.
It was then that they discovered that Ms Pan did not have a licence.
In mitigation, defence counsel Rajan Nair said that throughout the time that she was driving, Mr Chin Hao had one hand on the handbrake and the other on the steering wheel of the car to ensure he could stop and control the car when necessary.
He also claimed that he did not plan to let Ms Pan drive out of the carpark or to teach her how to drive.
Mr Nair added that the carpark was not in a housing estate and was deserted at the time of the offence.
But one of the two traffic police officers, Corporal Cheng Chee Mun, said the carpark was not empty during that time.
District Court Judge Salina Ishak, in passing judgment, said that the disqualification was a warning to potential offenders about the seriousness of driving without insurance coverage.
She felt that there would have been a possibility that Ms Pan have met other road users and become a danger to them.
Judge Ishak added that Mr Chin Hao was not a driving instructor and while he said that he didn't plan on teaching Ms Pan, he had, in fact, given her driving instructions.
Mr Chin Hao has appealed against the decision.
Never do this on public roads.
I bought a bottle of 10W-50 engine oil for my CB400F.
I poured in 250ml and used the dipstick to measure. It was still dry, so I poured in another 250ml. Still dry. Hmm... so I poured in yet another 250ml. The dipstick still remained dry. Perplexed, I poured in everything and... the dipstick was still dry. I couldn't believe it!
It then struck me that I should check the engine oil with the bike level. (The bike was on side stand; no main stand.) I did so and the engine oil went way above the high mark on the dipstick. Now I've overfilled.
I wanted to confirm the correct method to check the engine oil, so I went to look at the bike's manual. It was of no help — it was in Japanese. I then searched online. Yup, it's a usual procedure to make sure the bike is level.
What should I do now?
Ride the bike as usual? Not advisable. Too much engine oil can blow seals, then the oil ends up where it shouldn't.
So I should drain the excess oil. I thought the new and old oil shouldn't have mixed (I haven't even move the bike, much less start the engine), so I should try to drain off the old oil using the drain plug.
I prepared my tools, a 17mm spanner with extension and a drain pan, and tried to turn the drain plug. Again. And again. I couldn't turn it, it was too tight! If I really want to open it, I need to spray some WD-40 first.
I had second thoughts because I only wanted to drain a little oil. I wasn't sure I could control it. Back to the drawing board.
Another way is to suck the oil out from the fill hole. I just got the syringe for it — a 10ml syringe that I used to suck oil out from my car's shift stick turret.
Thankfully, the syringe fitted. I measured after drawing 50ml. Still too much oil left. Another 50ml. Still too much. In the end, I drew 300ml and it was right at the high mark.
I finally accomplished the simple act of topping up the oil.
I had a chance to go the old Upper Thomson road last week. Much to my disappointment, there were three speed bumps along the route. Too many accidents there.
I decided to check the engine oil for my CB400F and I was surprised that the entire dipstick was dry. If I upright the bike, then the oil just touches the low mark.
This is serious. Where did the oil go to? There must be 1 to 1.5 litres of oil gone. There's no leak, even after I leave the bike at the same spot for days.
Perhaps this is why the engine has a (low) ticking sound? A friend said the engine needs valve tuning, but my car makes the same sound when it is low on engine oil.
I will top up the oil and monitor.
THEY only knew it was their last day on the job an hour before they knocked off.
And when they were told they would be laid off, the 850 workers at the Mini car factory started throwing fruit at their union leaders, reported The Scotsman.
The angry workers at the huge plant in Cowley, near Oxford in the UK, then stormed out of the plant, saying they felt 'betrayed'.
The Telegraph said the cuts came after the company halted the production of cars at the Cowley factory for a week in response to falling sales caused by the recession.
The 3,650 remaining workers will switch from seven-day-a-week production to five days from 2 Mar following a 35 per cent slump in sales last month.
BMW, the German owner of the Mini, has come under fire for the way it handled the retrenchments.
Union chiefs accused it of using workers as 'cannon fodder', and called on the government to give immediate rights to agency workers.
Mr Derek Simpson, the joint general secretary of Unite, pressed Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to introduce a European directive on agency workers so those affected by the Cowley cuts would receive redundancy pay.
Mr Tony Woodley, Unite's co-leader, said: 'The manner in which these cuts were announced today was disgraceful. Sacking an entire shift like this and targeting agency workers who have no rights to redundancy pay is blatant opportunism on BMW's part and nothing short of scandalous.
'This is no way to treat workers, and I personally shall be pushing BMW to revoke this decision and give people their jobs back.'
Prime Minister Gordon Brown also weighed in on the issue.
His spokesman said: 'This is very disappointing news and all I can say really is the government is doing and will do all that we can to help those affected.'
Workers were given the grim news towards the end of their shift yesterday, shortly before a pre-planned, week-long shutdown of the plant.
One of the workers, Mr Silvia Fernandes, said: 'I've never been sick, I've never missed work and they tell me one hour before (my shift ended) that I have been sacked. That's why people are angry and so upset with BMW and with the union.'
Mr John Cunningham, who has worked at the factory for more than two years, said: 'I feel betrayed. They've planned this for months and we've only just been told - one hour's notice.
'We've been given a week's pay for an enforced week off, which I suppose is a week's notice. I don't know what's going to happen to me and my family. It's very scary.'
BMW said staff who currently worked weekend shifts at Cowley would be redeployed to one of the weekday shifts.
A statement issued by the company said: 'While Mini has been weathering the economic downturn, it is not immune from the challenges of the current situation.
'Against this backdrop, the company felt that a review of its shift patterns was necessary. This decision has not been taken lightly. The plant's union representatives have, of course, been involved in the discussions.'
Cowley, which can produce up to 260,000 cars a year, started building the Mini in 2001 and the marque has been hugely successful, with 80 per cent of the factory's output sold for export.
The latest bad news for the UK car industry follows thousands of job cuts in recent weeks, including 1,200 at Nissan, 850 at Ford, 600 at Aston Martin and 450 at Jaguar Land Rover.
This is very shocking...
Trend towards public transport for weekdays, fancy cars for leisure
IN THE last two years, higher-end cars like Audis, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Volvos and Lexuses have been seen sporting the red number plates of off-peak cars.
A Lotus Exige S and a Porsche 911 Carrera were among the 50-odd more-expensive cars registered as off-peak ones last year, with the $400,000 Carrera the most expensive among them.
Off-peak cars, which come with a one-off flat rebate of $17,000 upon registration, have typically been bought by those eyeing budget brands such as Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Kia plus Chinese brands Chery and Geely.
Industry observers say the trend towards higher-end off-peak cars could be a result of more motorists opting to use public transport on weekdays.
Mr Alex Yap, the sales and marketing director of BMW agent Performance Motors, said the appeal of off-peak cars could go up, 'given the current economic conditions and some of the costs associated with owning a car, including Electronic Road Pricing'.
Such cars would be attractive, especially to those who want to drive only after working hours and on weekends, and use public or company transport on weekdays.
Performance Motors sold nine off-peak BMWs last year, up from three in 2007.
Another possible reason for the rise of the fancier off-peak car is the drop in car prices due to weaker COE rates. This has brought many premium makes within reach of more buyers - especially after the rebate is thrown in.
Mr Peter Ng, 44, bought his dream car, a Lexus GS300 luxury sedan, last February, and made it an off-peak car.
The father of two who works for a semiconductor firm said his family had two regular-plate cars, a Mitsubishi Colt Version R and a Mitsubishi Airtrek, but realised that they did not need both sets of wheels the whole day.
They sold the Airtrek and bought the Lexus for an 'affordable' $150,000.
Now he and his wife use the Colt for their day-to-day commute, and bask in the luxury of the Lexus on weekends.
A pleased Mr Ng said: 'I pay only about $1,400 on road tax a year for the Lexus. On the whole, it's cheaper to run than the Airtrek.'
Another owner of a fancy off-peak car is marketing director John Hooi. He has had three off-peak cars, the latest a sporty Audi S3.
Married but with no children, the 38-year-old has never owned a regular-plate car.
He zips around on a BMW motorcycle for his weekday commute.
'It suits my lifestyle, and it's good value,' he said, adding that the Audi's road tax costs him only about $400 a year.
The Hoois and the Ngs regularly drive to Malaysia, which does not impose restricted hours on red-plate cars.
Off-peak cars can be used here between 7pm and 7am on weekdays, after 3pm on Saturdays and all day on Sundays and public holidays.
Owners pay $20 for a day licence to use the car outside these hours.
Last year, 10,381 off-peak cars were registered - fewer than the 11,180 sold in 2007 and the 12,476 in 2006, but more than the 8,252 in 2005.
Sales have dipped largely because lower COE premiums have made regular-plate cars generally more affordable to those who might otherwise have gone for a red-plate ride.
This article is very pro-weekend use. I suspect the OPC scheme will go back to the weekend car scheme. This can be done by restricting the weekday usage from 8 pm to 6:30 am. Just take the 7.5 hours and apply it on Saturday to get the full day off.
Can I apply for a weekday car scheme then? I have no wish to drive with all the OPCs around. It's hard enough to find parking on weekends.
I had nothing to do in the late afternoon, so I decided to go out for a purposeless spin. This is the first time I have done so.
It was only until I reached the carpark that I realized I needed to wash my car. Argh, I have something to do after all! However, I decided that a spin beats washing the car, especially on this day.
|Start at Toa Payoh||0 km|
|Reached KPE||4 km|
|Exit KPE tunnel||10 km|
|Reached TPE||14 km|
|Exit Loyang ave||19 km|
|Reached Changi Village||24 km|
|Reached Changi Coast Road||29 km|
|Reached ECP||37 km|
|Reached KPE||51 km|
|Reached PIE||54 km|
|Reached Toa Payoh||56 km|
Distance is estimated on my CB400F.
I started at 4:50 pm, reached Changi Village at 5:20 pm and reached Toa Payoh at 5:50 pm.
The journey was mostly uneventful. I had to brake hard at a traffic light junction at Loyang ave because the traffic light turned yellow at the "critical" distance. I decided to brake instead of dashing through the junction, because I wasn't sure if there was a red-light camera. (There wasn't.) The bike took longer to slow down than expected because I clutched in. The driving school teaches us to not clutch in a hard stop, but it is hard to break this habit.
I finally came to a stop in the middle of the pedestrain crossing. I was so afraid that I may overshoot and stop in the middle of the junction! My heart was beating hard for a while. The car beside me dashed through the yellow/red light.
There were many people — and tents — at the Changi beach. The carparks were 80% filled up! I rode slowly to take in the scenery and saw joggers and cyclists. One female cyclist was even wearing a bikini top! (Okay, maybe it's a skimpy sports top, but it looks like a bikini top.)
Right at the start of the straight stretch of Changi Coast road is the side road to Changi Exhibition Centre. It took me quite a while to find it the last time. I glanced into the side road and saw that the road was blocked. So they don't allow people to go in normally? Hmm.
There were three things of interest when I went past the Changi Coast road. First, I saw one man walking on the bicycle track! There were quite a number of cyclists, but a walker? That's the first time I saw one. He doesn't look like a jogger too.
Second, I hardly felt the speed strips at 60 km/h.
Third, a plane took off parallel to me. Now I know a plane takes off at faster than 60 km/h! :-D Initially I wanted to chase it, but then I realized almost immediately that the speed limit was only 70 km/h!
At the end of the Changi Coast road, at the junction to Tanah Merah Coast road, was a small hill. It has been fenced up for a long time. Too bad, it was the ideal spot to look at planes taking off, if that's your kind of thing. Now, the hill is half gone! The whole place is a construction zone.
The rest of the journey was uneventful. I have nothing to say except that the ECP is a speeding zone: I was at 90+ km/h and was still among the slowest vehicles! Because of the speed, I forgot about KPE's speed limit and entered KPE at 80 km/h!
Not withstanding any possible fines, the whole ride costed me just $3.56.
I think the easiest is to use the 2nd generation IU. Some people suggested SMS, but I think LTA would prefer to have more direct control.
If the 2G IU has a real-time clock, it can deduct $20 from the cashcard during peak hours. If the cashcard is not inserted, the IU will emit a flashing light so that people can tell from a distance.
Or maybe it should be the other way round: flash if the payment is made. This is because a cheat could fit in a regular IU that does not flash.
This requires the IU to have some logic inside too. It must know that the payment has been made for this peak period. This can be done in two ways: either it goes through the cashcard's transaction log, or it remembers it internally.
For the first method, the same cashcard must be used. And the driver must not use the cashcard more than 20 times within that peak period, or the history will be lost.
The second method is actually quite simple. The IU just needs a 1-bit flag to remember if the payment is made. The flag is simply reset after the peak period is over. It doesn't even need NVRAM (Non-Volative RAM) because the IU is powered even when the car is off.
However, NVRAM is still needed if LTA wants to retrieve the log in the future. Surely its scheme cannot be defeated so easily by disconnecting the car's battery?
If the IU is used, LTA will also know when the driver goes past a ERP gantry. This reduces the policing required to non-ERP area.
IU is pretty tamper proof. It has been ten years and there are no signs of one so far.
A cheat can put in a fake IU that flashes. But that means he doesn't have an IU. That's almost unthinkable today in Singapore.
I have used the KPE/ECP route to office several times. Needless to say, I try to make it past the KPE gantry before 7:30 am so that I don't have to pay!
I find this route dangerous because of lane changing.
First, after I enter PIE, I only have around 400m to lane change two lanes to get to the third lane. (The fourth and fifth lanes are exits.) So far it hasn't been a problem, but it could be in heavy traffic.
The main danger here is that I have to watch for cars that are lane changing to exit. I'm afraid they may not see my bike.
After that, I prefer to stay in the third lane because I can stay on it all the way until KPE. I still need to lane change once to enter KPE, but there are plenty of opportunities to do so.
I enter KPE on the leftmost lane and need to lane change twice again to the first lane. This is necessary to position myself after I join ECP. So far it's not a problem, because KPE isn't very crowded. But it could be difficult to do so in heavy traffic.
The rightmost two lanes of KPE joins ECP to become the fourth and fifth lanes. Both of them are exits. That's why I want to be on KPE's lane one, so that I end up on ECP's fourth lane. I just need to lane change once to get to the third lane.
Boy, this one is tough! Many vehicles are trying to exit, and because the third lane is a slow lane and it's uphill, there is often a "wall" of vehicles that prevents you from entering the lane. So far it's still fine, but the traffic gets much worse later in the morning. I've noticed a big difference between 7 am and 7:30 am.
I observed that it seemed much easier to cut in further up the bridge, as most vehicles lose their speed and the gap between vehicles increase. Maybe I should use the fifth lane, accelerate and cut in further up.
After this, I either stick to the third lane all the way or switch to the second lane and only switch back to the third lane before my exit. If the speed is not too slow (60 km/h), I would stay on the third lane, because it leads right up to my exit! There is always a jam before the AYE exit to West Coast Highway. I don't understand why; it's a downslope exit!
Because of the jam, I need to enter lane three very early, usually around the Keppel road exit. An alternative is to cut in very late — there are always opportunities in start-stop traffic — but I guess that's why there's a jam: because everyone is cutting in.
My troubles are not over yet. When I exit the West Coast Highway, I need to lane change twice within 100m so that I can make a right turn at the traffic light junction. So far it's not a problem because the traffic was very light — I was rather surprised by the lack of traffic. Perhaps it's too early. I foresee it'll be difficult to lane change even in moderately heavy traffic. Anyway, it's no big deal if I can't do so. I'll just go straight and u-turn back.
Two new buildings are being constructed beside my workplace. They make the whole place so dusty. My car was coated with a layer of dust at the end of the day, even though I parked at the other end.
On the other hand, could it be the haze? It was exceptionally hazy today.
IT COULD soon become more attractive for motorists to switch to off-peak cars (OPC).
Transport Minister Raymond Lim said in Parliament on Thursday that the Government will look into enhancing the OPC scheme in three areas.
Firstly, the supplementary day licence, currently a cumbersome paper permit that is prone to tampering and hard to enforce, will be replaced by an electronic system.
Secondly, the Government will look into granting cash rebates to motorists who convert their normal cars to OPCs. This, Mr Lim said, will be a more attractive incentive than the current system, under which the car owner gets the rebate when he deregisters the vehicle.
Finally, the Government will relook the resticted hours that OPCs can ply without charge.
Currently, these cars can only be used from 7pm to 7am on weekdays and after 3pm on Saturdays, and for the full day on Sundays and public holidays.
Over the years, the Government has received numerous feedback from OPC motorists asking for the red-plated cars to be allowed to complete free usage on Saturdays.
The Minister hinted that free use for the whole of Saturdays could be possible, but there would be commensurate adjustment to the tax breaks that OPCs are given.
OPCs now get a one-off $17,000 rebate on their registration taxes.
Mr Lim said the OPC scheme 'is something we should encourage' as it fits Singapore's overall strategy of managing road demand.
He pointed out that there are about 42,000 OPCs today, five times more than the 5,000 back in end-2005.
They make up about 7.7 per cent of Singapore's car population.
I am absolutely amazed that LTA will change the OPC scheme. It always said it's not possible.
I like the electronic (monitoring?) system. Now we'll see how many people can really afford to drive an OPC during weekdays.
The full-day Saturday usage will be a tradeoff. If the rebate is reduced to $12,000, that means the users are paying $500/year for it, or $9.62 per Saturday.
It's still good because as car prices get lower, it gets more and more difficult to use up the $17,000 rebate. A cheap car and COE may only be $15,000 altogether.
I believe the road tax rebate will be reduced as well. The $800 rebate was for a 1.5L to 1.6L car. It could be reduced to $600 because road tax has been reduced.
Judge makes ruling but allows case to go to higher court
WHEN a car involved in an accident has to be scrapped because it is too badly damaged to be repaired, should the person who caused the crash be made to pay the outstanding hire-purchase sum owed on the car?
A district judge's answer to this is yes, in a case where the victim has claimed the expense as part of the damages the defendant has to pay.
District Judge Leslie Chew is, however, allowing the case to go to a higher court on appeal, because its ruling on this 'would be to the public's advantage'.
The issue is said to have vexed the industry - not only in cases where cars beyond repair are scrapped, but also in those in which the car owner chooses to have the car repaired, if only to avoid having to redeem the outstanding loan on the car.
Judge Chew said, in the grounds for his decision published yesterday, that although the sum involved in the dispute heard in his court was relatively low, a High Court ruling would still be of importance to motor insurers and car owners, given that almost all actions arising from vehicle collisions are dealt with in the lower courts.
Details of the crash which led to the case over which he presided - the facts of which were not in dispute - were not in the written judgment.
It is known, however, that insurers pegged the market value of $58,000 on motorist Mr Ang Teck Beng's car. The outstanding loan on it, however, was about $72,000. Scrapping the car - and paying off the loan - meant Mr Ang had to make good a difference of $11,682, so he went to court to make this claim last November against defendant Jason Tan. Mr Ang was awarded the $11,682, but Mr Tan appealed.
In the appeal, Judge Chew brought down the sum to $10,282 - the actual sum Mr Ang lost after taking into account the $1,400 difference between the market value of the car and the amounts he got from the scrap value and the insurers.
Judge Chew ruled that the guiding principle is whether the claim sought is a direct consequence of the defendant's negligence - in other words, whether the loss was legally caused by the defendant.
Mr Tan's lawyer Roger Yek had argued that while his client had caused damage to Mr Ang's car in the crash, he did not cause the loss Mr Ang suffered from having to pay off the car loan.
But the judge countered that the loss was 'reasonably forsee- able', in that Mr Ang's expense in redeeming the car loan 'flowed from the damage caused by the defendant'.
He explained that the expense did not arise because Mr Ang had decided to scrap his car, but 'rather he came into that state of affairs by reason of the damage caused by the defendant'.
The High Court appeal is expected to be heard later this month.
So much for comprehensive insurance.
Is a 5-speed AT smoother compared to a 4-speed AT? Let's find out.
|Gear||Civic 1.8||Impreza 1.5|
Gear ratios of less than one are used at highway speeds. In a manual transmission car, the 4th gear is usually 1:1 and the 5th gear less than one.
In other words, we see that the 5th gear for the Civic 1.8 is used only when the car is cruising at very high speeds (say, 100 km/h). The car will be very fuel efficient then. The 5th gear has no impact on city driving.
Hence, it is not true that the Civic 1.8 will accelerate more smoothly because of its 5-speed AT. (It may be true of other 5-speed AT, depending on the gear ratios.)
The basic cost indicates the cost of the car to the car dealer. Is everything else markup? No. Some agents bring in the basic model/configuration, then fit in accessories locally. This is cost-effective because all the taxes are based on OMV. Hence, agents try to lower the OMV as much as possible.
I went to my usual McDonalds joint to ta-bao my dinner. I didn't go to the Central even though there were three outlets there — because I was a cheapo and I didn't want to pay for parking. The Central uses cashcard parking, so there's no escape from parking charges.
When I reached there, I saw a parking warden looking over an entire row of illegally parked cars. She was preparing to book the first car.
At first I thought of parking at a nearby carpark to avoid the parking warden, but then, I was going parking at the end of the stretch. She would take some time to walk over, given the number of cars. I glanced into the McDonalds. No queue. Good!
I quickly parked (legally) and went into McDonalds to order my dinner. I didn't even locked my helmet, but chose to carry it with me. Seconds count.
I just realized there are fewer new cars in 2007 and 2008. The peak was 116.7k new cars in 2006. Since then, there has been 10k fewer cars every year. I won't be surprised if there are just 85k new cars this year.
Still very few people choose to renew their COE last year. Perhaps it'll be different this year.
It rained twice in the past week. Oh dear, is the dry season over? I was caught in the rain when I went home. I had to find a suitable place to stop to put the top up.
(It looks incredibly stupid to get drenched in a car, I tell you. On a bike, still not so bad.)
It is difficult to judge whether it would rain on the way home. I'm usually conservative and assume that it would rain as long as there are dark clouds. However, this is the dry season and the rain stopped at my workplace an hour ago, hence I thought it wouldn't rain.
I applied to pay my CB400F season parking by GIRO and it wasn't as smooth sailing as I expected.
First, the HDB required the "log card". I forgot that it was necessary. I asked how come I was able to apply for the season parking then? The person replied that they gave me the non-tenant season parking.
So I had to go home to get it. After that, they have to do some background check. The GIRO application is not guaranteed to go through because a GIRO season parking is guaranteed, whereas a normal season parking is not! I didn't know that. Now, 6-months season parking makes sense to me.
I received a call a few weeks later from HDB to enquire on my residential status. The person even asked me if I have difficulty finding a place to park! I'm not going to answer no, right? How am I going to get my season parking if I do so? I asked her why she asked this question. She said there were some complaints that it was difficult to find parking lots. I said it is true, but there are still around 5 (unsheltered) lots left.
The top two request from OPC owners must be the half-day $10 coupon and shifting the off-peak timing from 3 pm to 1 pm on Saturday. The greedier even ask for the whole Saturday!
Half-day coupon will never fly with LTA. Right now, the 7 pm to 7 am timing deters people from using the OPC car as a daily transport. Not many people are willing to spend 12 hours in office every day. With half-day coupons, people can now work, say, 9 am to 7 pm. There will be more cars on the road, defeating the purpose of OPC scheme.
(Note that 9 am to 7 pm may seem long, but it's usual to work 9 am to 6 pm. The worker can use the last hour for his dinner.)
LTA is slowly reducing the ARF and road tax. With COE coming (and possibly staying) at a all-time low, there are fewer and fewer reasons to opt for OPC cars.
Right now, there is an online Petition for Fairer Transportation Fares for Polytechnic/Tertiary Students.
Tertiary students have asked for the same fares as JC students (being roughly the same age group) even when I was a tertiary student.
I went to take a look and it wasn't what I expected. It's not that tertiary students are not subsidized. They have concession stamps too. It's just that they are more expensive than JC ones.
There are two monthly concession passes: an unlimited bus one ($52), and a 4-ride daily train one ($45). There's no discount if you get both. JC/ITE students pay just $27.50 and $25, hence the discontent.
Assuming 22.5 days/month (5-day week), it means you pay $1.15 per trip for bus and $1 per trip for MRT. Not much savings compared to normal fares — maybe 25% to 50%.
However, if you take more than one trip, you would have earned. Looks like they are encouraging the youngsters to go out!
My YBR battery was too weak to start the bike after five days of not using it. It cranked the first time, but didn't start the bike, so I tried it again. The battery was too weak by then.
In contrast, the battery for the CB400F remained strong even after 1.5 weeks. I started the bike on the first try — much to my surprise. It could be because I remembered to turn on the choke.
Either the YBR is not charging the battery properly, or the battery is really that lousy.
There are some people who look out for cars with four disc brakes. They won't consider cars with 2 front disc brakes and 2 rear drum brakes.
Guys delude themselves by saying that disc brakes have better stopping power. Perhaps they do, but all cars have sufficient stopping power, or they won't be on the road. Girls just say that disc brakes look nicer. They are right: disc brakes do look nicer.
Thus, if I were the car designer and it doesn't cost me much more to use disc brakes instead of drum brakes, I would do so. I've never met anyone who looks for drum brakes.
I am still looking for a video capture device to use on my vehicles. My digital camera already works on my car, but it's a hassle to set it up. Also, it fills up the MS (memory stick) and drains the battery pretty quickly.
I don't need a real video camera for this purpose. I don't mind using a digital camera, provided it can do the following:
As for my bikes, I will look for a clamp that will hold the camera securely to the handlebar. This should cost $50 to $100. (Camera accessories are overpriced.)
I saw one bike exit through the entrance today. So the signs didn't work at all.
Why wasn't the rider afraid?
I took two hours to clear the Checkpoints on Saturday. My brother reached the Tuas Checkpoint at 7:15 am and took four hours to clear the Singapore Checkpoint.
The radio reported that the causeway was clear in the afternoon. Also, it was clear on Sunday morning, around 7+ am.
Why should people go back on Saturday morning? I expected people to choose either Friday evening (after work), or Sunday morning. Why Saturday morning?
It seems everyone thought it was a good time to go back, hence it became a bad time.
A friend suggested that parking should have a set of demerit points too. This will discourage people from parking illegally.
The Malaysia Entry Checkpoint: some of the two-lane lanes are two-toned, meaing one lane is of one color and the other lane is of another color. I didn't use one of the lanes because it looked like parking lots!
The Malaysia Exit Checkpoint: is this the new go-kart circuit? I foresee frequent accidents, especially when raining. With just two lanes, an accident will easily block traffic for hours.
No way to walk across the causeway? How on earth did they design the Checkpoint?
Woke up at 4:25 am. Left home at 4:45 am. Crossed the Singapore Checkpoint at 5:05 am (10 km). Reached office at 5:35 am (32 km; slow drive).
There was very few cars on the road. There were very few motorcycles on the road too. Either the workers weren't so early or they were still having their New Year break. However, the buses — mostly giant touring buses — had started jamming up the causeway already.
Two police officers were on hand to direct the cars to use the motorcycle lane. Cars that had already queued up had to reverse.
An idea just came to me: I can fit a foldable bicycle into my car's puny boot. What for? Good question.
It would make much more sense if I drive my car to parks more often.
I observed that the fuel needle points to the 'F' mark after 30 km. It usually does so after 50 km. This means that being stuck at the Causeway for almost 2 hours was equivalent to a 20 km trip, or 2 litres of petrol. That costed me about $3.40 as I pumped RON98!
I reached the Singapore Checkpoint at 5:40 am. I could have been 10 to 15 minutes earlier, but I had problems pumping air into one of my tyres and I had to go to two other petrol stations (the pump was out of operation in the second petrol station).
Even when I was on PIE, the EMAS display already showed "Jam on BKE after SLE". Oh dear.
The jam started at the "500m to end of BKE" signboard. It took me around 40 minutes to reach the base of the bridge, but it was somewhat faster after that. When I reached the top, I found out why — two policemen were copying down the car numbers of those who "cut queue", including me, and then allowing them to join the car queue.
You see, the bridge has two lanes, one for cars and one for motorcycles. I was on the second lane on BKE when I joined the queue; I was on the second lane all the time. The second lane joins the motorcycle lane on the bridge. Normally, you can filter to the car lane easily. Not so in a jam.
I'm definitely going to appeal this case.
It was even faster after I joined the single car queue. I reached the Checkpoint after 20 minutes.
After I cleared the Singapore Checkpoint, I could see a queue of 7 to 8 people in front of a portable toilet. Several cars were parked just beside it. Moral of the story: do your business before crossing the Checkpoint in case of jams.
The Malaysia Checkpoint also had a pretty long queue due to its two-lanes design leading to the complex, but it was fast moving. The lanes split into many smaller lanes inside the complex. I joined the rightmost one that had two lanes, but I joined the left lane that led to only one counter whereas the right lane led to four counters. This is a piss-poor design.
(The Singapore Checkpoint also had such poor design in the past.)
I joined the queue at the Malaysia Checkpoint at 7:00 am and cleared the Checkpoint after 25 minutes.
Reminder to self: look out for two lanes that lead to multiple shared counters. It is very easy for one of the lanes to lead to just one or two counters, whereas the other lane leads to the remaining counters. The designers never consider the jam scenario?
A colleague expressed his desire to buy a car. I couldn't help but overhear him in our shared working environment.
Mid-twenties, not much savings (my guess), first criteria is a sporty car, preferably a convertible!
Purpose? To drive his girlfriend around.
Of course, a convertible is not very practical, but there are cheap ones around, like the first generation MX-5, which is listed at $17k. (Good luck actually buying at this price, though.)
The twenties is a conflicting time. Save, and miss out on all the fun. Spend, and then wonder why you're so stretched in your thirties — and perhaps the rest of your life.
And when you are in your twenties, you desire presentation over practicality. Thus, I can understand why my colleague wants to buy a car. And a convertible at that.
But can he afford it? Is it prudent? Is it worth it? That's something he needs to answer himself.
My advice to him would be to buy a boring sedan, first hand, and keep it as long as possible.
However, my actual advice to him was to keep a lookout for auction cars. Good bargains pop up from time to time. And if things go well, it is the cheapest way to own a car in Singapore.
My current COE is $18,444, now left $4,611. The current PQP is $5,346, so if I renew the COE now, it means I'm effectively paying $9,957.
Some people don't like the term "value-for-money". It implies low-end products and a certain degree of cheapness.
It all depends what you are buying.
If you are buying a high end product, yes, a high degree of markup is expected. If the dealer has a monopoly over the market and the product holds its value over time, yes, it may be worth paying the markup.
Not so when it comes to bread-and-butter cars.
First, 30% markup is daylight robbery. And, the car dealer will lower the markup back to 15% to 20% over time, thus lowering your car value in the process.
Conti- cars usually have a markup of 30%. This is needed due to their much lower sales volume. The first buyer takes most of the hit because second hand car dealers only value the car at its paper value. (Which they then sell at depreciation.)
For the higher end conti- cars, some people prefer to self-import. This is because the 30% can mount to $100k or more! The authorized car dealer is required to honour the warranty. (This is part of their contract of being the AD.)
When I went home, it was again heavy traffic on the PIE, but it was nothing like in the morning. The traffic was still pretty smooth, just very slow. I didn't have to stop. I know because I didn't have to put my leg down (I was riding).
The EMAS display showed heavy traffic, so at least now I have a reference point for heavy traffic and massive jam!
I saw the "Massive jam after Stevens road" warning on the EMAS display even before I went up PIE.
As far as I know, the EMAS display shows three warnings: slow traffic, heavy traffic and massive jam. Massive jam is the only one that I pay any attention to, especially when I'm using a short stretch of the expressway only.
The traffic on PIE was bumper-to-bumper. It was start-stop traffic. It was indeed a massive jam.
The first EMAS display I went past showed "Massive jam after Steven road to Clementi"! I decided to exit at Stevens road.
It wasn't all smooth sailing after that, but it was much better. It took me almost an hour to reach office! (Usually 25 to 30 minutes.)
I checked the PIE traffic cameras and the jam extended from Mount Pleasant (the second camera) all the way to Bedok North (the last camera).
You can imagine the number of people doing cross-country trips every morning.
The industrial park that my office is in has only one exit. Needless to say, it is inconvenient for some people, and they choose to use another exit — through one of the entrances.
People — including me — have abused this entrance for a long time. It was a convenient exit to a major road. Everything went well for years until the park had more tenants a year back. Suddenly, effort was put in to make it harder to use as an exit.
The efforts failed. They finally put in a CCD camera. It also failed because no one saw it! Now, they put up two signs pointing out the CCD camera. I think it'll work. Driving against traffic has a penalty of 6 demerit points and a $150 fine.
I asked my company's admin if the access road can be changed. The landlord replied that it would be changed in 2010 after the new buildings go up.
It is extremely unadvisable to look at the monthly installment to see if you can afford a car (or anything else), but it can be a shortcut to see where you stands.
A $50k loan for 7 years at 2.5% means $700/mth. This allows you to buy a $50k car (full loan) or a $60k car (with $10k downpayment). $50k to $60k allows you to buy entry-level Japansese cars, such as the Impreza, Jazz and Vios.
A $50k loan for 10 years at 3% means $542/mth. While the installment amount is lesser, the total amount is more.
$542/mth is a very important number. If you can't afford it, you need to look for a cheaper car, or put down more downpayment. Note that the running costs can easily be another $500 to $750 per month (including annual costs).
An important thing to note is that a car is a long term committment. It is not easy to get rid of it — without additional costs. The reason is that your car is worth less than your outstanding loan for the first few years, so you still need to pay the difference after selling your car.
I was in the second lane of a three lane road and I saw several cars moving very slowly in the third lane ahead. Some of them were signalling to turn out.
The answer was apparent when I went past them — a cyclist was on the road! He was pedalling as hard as he could, but he couldn't be faster than 30 km/h.
It was dangerous for me too because I was afraid some drivers may just turn out without checking their blind spot!
The law should be changed to disallow cycling on the road until the leftmost lane is widened.
At the same time, a BMW turned on its hazard lights and stopped on lane one! A truck was right behind him. I saw the driver alight. I think they had a minor collision.
After kick starting the YBR for many months, I finally found time to recharge its battery.
This time, I disconnected the IU and used the electric start every time. Surprisingly, the battery has lasted a few days without any problems.
Let's see if the battery lasts through the weekend unused.
If the battery is working, then I suspect the wiring is causing the drainage.
A friend asked me if a car with OMV of $13,153 and COE of $5,000 is worth its asking price of $50,500.
Well, the basic cost is $35,182, so the markup is 30.0%. Is it worth it? Not to me.
I feel this car should be priced $45k to $47k for it to be attractive (markup of around 20%).
|Make||Basic cost||Selling price||% markup|
|Mazda 3 SP||43,327||68,188||36.5%|
|Toyota Altis 1.6||44,652||61,488||27.4%|
|Toyota Vios G||38,021||54,488||30.2%|
Taken from LTA's PDF of cars registered in December 2008.
Of the cars here, the Honda City gives the best value-for-money. Note that as the basic cost gets lower, the markup %age will often go up as the dealers still need to earn at least a few thousand dollars. This is the case for the Cherry QQ. The markup is only $6,048, but it translates to 22.4%.
Personally, I think markup over 20% is unacceptable. I'm surprised that the run-of-the-mill Japanese cars exceed 25%; they used to be around 20%. The only explanation is that the car dealers have not fully cut their car prices to reflect the basic cost.
And one reason why the car dealers are "holding" up the prices is that they want to prop up the 2nd hand car market. There is basically no market for 2nd hand cars if the new cars are 120% of their basic cost.
For cars whose basic cost is over $70k, the markup %age should be less, not more. No wonder conti cars don't hold their values — they are way overpriced to begin with!
A close look at the Honda Civics. Which is more worth it?
It is clear that the Civic 1.6 is overpriced.
When we buy a car, we need to make sure it is value-for-money.
LTA provides the so-called basic cost of a car on its one.motoring website. Look for "Cost For New Cars Registered in the previous month". It's a PDF of the car prices in the previous month.
The basic cost of a car is, well, the cost of the car to the dealer. Together with it, LTA also gives the selling price. Just subtract the two and you have an idea of the car dealer's markup.
A sample entry: the Audi A4 1.8T FSI MU CVT ABS D/AB 2WD 4DR; basic cost $88,550, selling price $139,000. Markup = $50,450 or 36.4%! And people wonder why some cars don't keep their value over time? Because their price was inflated to begin with!
Let's take a look at another entry: the Honda Jazz 1.3L AT; basic cost $50,951, price $58,700. Markup = $7,749 or 13.2%. See the difference?
Now, not the entire markup is profit, since the dealer has operating costs as well. However, from your point of view, you'll want the markup to be as little as possible, as it doesn't contribute (much) to the car's value, and cars tend to sell closer to their paper value the older they get.
(Paper value is a proportion of the basic cost.)
Note that this does restrict you to run-of-the-mill cars.
In Singapore, of course.
In a separate statistics, 34,078 bikes were transferred — this is the 2nd hand market. People prefer to buy old bikes.
In Singapore, of course.
In a separate statistics, 29,459 cars were transferred — this is the 2nd hand market. People prefer to buy new cars.
When I went home yesterday evening, the sky was very clear and blue, and the sun was very bright. Normally it would be unbearably hot, but the air was very cool. It felt like spring time in temperate countries.
It's a wonderful time to be riding.
I went past an ERP gantry just around the time it was supposed to start operation. I saw the display was off and I was very happy. Unfortunately, the toll was still deducted from my cashcard. :-(
LTA gives initial nod to new E-Max bike, which importer says will bring big fuel savings
THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) has given initial approval for a new electric scooter to be brought to Singapore by five-month-old local company Zeco Scooters, The Straits Times understands.
The scooter costs nearly twice as much as regular machines available here, but promises fuel savings of up to $1,300 a year because its 50cc-equivalent engine runs on electricity.
The bikes can be charged from any electrical outlet, and a full charge will take between three and eight hours, depending on the model. The maximum distance such a bike can cover after charging ranges from 45km to 90km.
Though the LTA has given initial approval, the scooter still needs the go-ahead from other government agencies before it can hit the streets.
Nevertheless, Zeco's managing director Jan Croeni, a German, has already ordered his first shipment of about 20 E-Max bikes from their German manufacturer. The scooters - which will retail for between $6,999 and $7,399 each - are due here in March.
Zeco hopes business will be brisk after the official launch of the machine at its Outram Road showroom tomorrow.
Mr Croeni said he chose to roll out the scooters in Singapore because of its 'self-contained' nature. 'There is not much urban sprawl, it has limited range, so it's ideal to promote this vehicle,' he said.
'The scooter is cost-efficient, totally new and has zero emissions,' he added.
But although electric scooters have already proven popular in China and Taiwan, experts are doubtful that they will take off here, at least for now.
For one thing, finding a place to charge the scooter may be difficult. Zeco plans to build 'plug-and-charge' stations across the island, if the scooter takes off.
But until it does, the company hopes users can charge their machines at public outlets. In return, Zeco plans to return power to the grid by eventually building solar panels to generate electricity.
Zeco will also have to overcome Singaporeans' slowness to embrace green technology.
Dr Michael Li, transport economist from Nanyang Technological University's business school, feels that only a 'small percentage' of professionals - one of Zeco's target markets - would be green-minded enough to buy a scooter.
'This would be an additional cost and extra hassle, considering the number of rainy days in Singapore. The market is not mature enough,' said Dr Li.
The scooter's relatively low maximum speed of 60kmh could also cause safety issues, particularly when navigating Singapore's high-speed roads and when overtaking vehicles.
'It will be a fairly small niche market here until Singapore's roads are made safer for low-speed vehicles, perhaps by lowering speeds on certain roads or through better reinforcement of speed limits,' said urban transport policy expert Paul Barter.
Scooter rider Laremy Lee agrees with this, adding that he already has a cost-efficient ride out of his Vespa.
'But I'm always for greener alternatives. If the technology improves and faster electric scooters with better mileage are produced, then I think it's more viable,' said the 25-year-old teacher.
$7k for a 50cc bike that can only go up to 60km/h? No way!
What is it like to spend $1.3k/year on fuel on a motorcycle? Assuming FC of 45km/l and $1.60/l, that's over 36,500 km. You won't save so much because recharging is not free.
It would be extremely tough to recharge the battery in Singapore, unless it is removable.
Would the bike be allowed on expressways? Perhaps only on the third lane.
I'll wait until there's an electric bike that can match my YBR:
It is extremely difficult for the YBR to reach its max speed of 110 km/h — don't expect too much out of a 4-stroke 125cc bike. I have only attained 100 km/h myself. Even then, the bike is already shaking violently and the engine makes more noise than power.
(I seldom go faster than 90 km/h because it is even harder to stop. If you ever need to brake quickly, it's time to be Superman.)
I was a little annoyed when a lorry overtook me and stayed in front of me.
Then, I realized I was not hit by the wind anymore!
So I stayed behind the lorry merrily.
TOKYO -- To get around the city, Yutaka Makino hops on his skateboard or rides commuter trains. Does he dream of the day when he has his own car? Not a chance.
Like many Japanese of his generation, the 28-year-old musician and part-time maintenance worker says owning a car is more trouble than it's worth, especially in a congested city where monthly parking runs as much as 30,000 yen ($330), and gas costs $3.50 a gallon (about 100 yen a liter).
That kind of thinking -- which automakers here have dubbed "kuruma banare," or "demotorization" -- is a U-turn from earlier generations of Japanese who viewed car ownership as a status symbol. The trend is worrying Japan's auto executives, who fear the nation's love affair with the auto may be coming to an end.
"Young people's interest is shifting from cars to communication tools like personal computers, mobile phones and services," said Yoichiro Ichimaru, who oversees domestic sales at Toyota.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association predicts auto sales in Japan will fall to 4.86 million in 2009 -- the first time below 5 million in more than three decades. This year, sales are projected at 5.11 million, the worst since 1980.
Vehicle sales peaked at 7.78 million vehicles in 1990 during the nation's heyday "bubble" economy. After that burst, Japan was mired in a decade-long slowdown, which squelched consumer spending and sent car sales on a decline. A surge in gas prices, which has subsided in recent weeks, also eroded sales.
"The changes in individuals' values on cars came cumulatively over time," said Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga. "The change in young people's attitude toward cars didn't happen overnight. So we have to keep convincing them cars are great."
In an effort to do just that, Nissan Motor Co. has dealerships featuring colorful accessories for cars meant to appeal to Japanese women's alleged penchant for "cute" things, and signed major league star Ichiro for splashy TV ads for a new sporty model, among other efforts.
Toyota, the nation's biggest car maker, has hosted test-drive events, taken part in fashion shows and even developed its own suburban shopping mall that houses a dealership to reach out to buyers.
About half the autos produced in Japan are sold in Japan, while the other half are exported. But the U.S. market -- where more profitable models like light trucks tend to be popular -- is more lucrative.
Still, this nation's disenchantment with cars is cause for concern. Americans, after all, are expected to start buying cars again -- eventually -- partly because of the inadequacy of mass transit there.
It's a different story in Japan's cities where streets are clogged but trains are efficient. The domestic market also is shrinking due to a drop in population.
Makino, the young man who plays what he calls "organic folk music," is typical of the new breed who scoffs at the sportscar-idolizing culture of the older generation.
He and his friends see cars as nothing more than a tool, much like a vacuum cleaner, not a reflection of their identity, tastes or income level. Makino's father own a car, but he has never owned one. And he doesn't know a Honda Fit from a Toyota Vitz.
"I don't believe that having more things enriches you," Makino said in a recent interview at his apartment, sitting among shelves of wooden crates. "If you stay happy in your soul then you can be happy without money."
Companies like Toyota and Honda Motor Co., along with the electronics giants like Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp., are the mainstays of the world's second-largest economy, and a hollowing out of manufacturing would be lethal.
Manufacturing makes up a fifth of Japan's economy in gross domestic product. But it makes up 90 percent of its exports, and any faltering in that sector would send debilitating ripple effects throughout Japan. And that's likely to further depress auto sales in Japan.
Unlike other industrialized nations, Japan lacks other sectors to drive its economy such as financials and services. Consumer spending makes up about 60 percent of Japan's GDP.
The damage to this nation's economy would be devastating if the auto industry fails to turn itself around because so many jobs will be affected -- not only directly at the plants but related ones such as auto-parts makers, distributors and other jobs, including electronics companies that make batteries and other products for the auto industry.
Already, automakers here have shed thousands of jobs at plants, which had been producing cars for export to the U.S. and other overseas markets with a bigger thirst for autos. Toyota is projecting its first operating loss in 70 years.
Some dealers are taking extraordinary steps to attract domestic customers.
Motoharu Ishii has turned his Honda dealership into a special shop for dog-owners. Bigger dogs can't travel in Japanese trains, and so pet owners may be among the last holdouts in car ownership.
He helps them fit their vehicles with cages, offers discount coupons at dog runs, and has a fuzzy mat ready for visiting pets -- in the same way some dealers prepare play areas for children.
"We want out customers to stay even a bit longer in our showroom," he said, adding that although sales haven't shot up he has managed to prevent drastic drops. "The last thing you want is a deserted showroom. If it looks busy, it makes it easier for people to drop by."
Will it come to this stage in Singapore?
Berlin's compact layout and commitment to bicycle lanes have made riding to work a popular option. According to the city government, 13% of all traffic is by bicycle, which keeps transit costs low for residents on the whole, and alleviates road traffic for drivers because there are fewer cars on the road.
Krakow benefits from its status as a relatively small city. With only 750,000 people in the city and 1.25 million in the metro area, it is one of the smallest spots assessed in these rankings, and, unlike many parts of the world, it hasn't been rapidly urbanizing over the past decade. As a result, the city's investments in improving rail systems and road systems have gone further than in budding mega-cities in other emerging markets. Its small size and density also makes the bus system an efficient and cheap method of transit.
One thing working in Mumbai's favor is its density: Suburban rail lines connect the outer suburbs to the business district. Mumbai has been particularly aggressive with investment-grade bonds to improve infrastructure, as well as developing public/private partnerships to enhance service and efficiency.
The city of Beijing estimates that $10 billion was spent to improve transportation infrastructure--both roads and transit lines--in advance of last summer's Beijing Olympics. As Beijing continues to develop and consolidate outlying economic zones such as Tianjin, rail and travel logistics will be a major priority of the local government.
London's overall transit system is well designed and maintained because it is suited for the city's distribution of jobs and population. The City of London has only 8,000 people and 320,000 jobs, according to the City of London Economic Development Office. The Tube, which is the world's largest urban railway, as well as commuter trains efficiently move people in and out of the city, whereas cars in such a small space would overwhelm the system.
Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto are often considered part of the Greater Osaka area. Commuter trains and high-speed rail are critical in connecting the larger geographic area. There are 17 million people in the metropolitan area, but the city of Osaka's transportation authority estimates that 10 million people use railway or underground subway on a daily basis.
In Dakar, there is a high percentage of residents who walk or bicycle to work, which puts little pressure on the remaining infrastructure and keeps the cost to the system, and it energy expenditure, low. As a result, those working in the central business district aren't caught in gridlocks as much.
Chennai's transit system is highly planned as the result of its standing as a tech and outsourcing hub, and it is relatively easy to manage given its population of 5 million. Chennai's status as a port city (which requires rail logistics and has led to mass public rail systems like the MSRT) and the high influx of planned campuses for informational technology (which results in multilane highways like the IT highway) have improved mobility to commercial areas.
Tokyo's railway line is an efficient way to get around the mega-city, once you get used to the small seats and train employees pushing people into the cars for better use of space. The high-speed rail lines that connect the outer parts of the city to the city center are emulated all over the world. Like any city, it has its traffic problems on the roadways. But technological innovations in traffic monitoring that lead to real-time information updates on road signs, as well as ubiquitous individual GPS systems, help manage auto traffic.
This is one of the densest and geographically smallest cities in the world. Jobs are highly concentrated on Hong Kong Island (only 31 square miles), which is connected to the rest of the districts by rail, bus and ferry systems that are used by 90% of residents, according to Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Existing infrastructure is set to improve by 2010, when the Chinese government completes its massive overhaul of the Pearl River Delta rail system, which will connect Hong Kong and Shanzhen to the western bank of the Pearl River Delta and Guangzhou.
Singapore is not on the list. For such a small and organized city with its "world-class" public transport, you expect it to be.
However, I suspect Singapore will be on the list in a few years time, with more bus lanes and new MRT lines.
I thought this was rather unique:
The most recent cat A COE was $5,001, driving the PQP to $8,195. The COE is expected to hover around $5k for this year.
I doubt it will stay low for long. I expect it to go to $10k once the worst is over, so I expect to pay around that figure in 2.5 years time (August 2011).
I took the cyan route to office today. Going east to go to my office in the west seems counter-inituitive, just like steering left to turn right.
I exited KPE after 6.7 km and the whole route was 17.4 km. It was a very smooth trip, with just 5 traffic lights — 3 of them in Toa Payoh alone. In contrast, the Farrer road route has 14 traffic lights, 6 of them in Toa Payoh.
Some places have potential for congestion, especially the expressway entrances and exits. I did not have to pay ERP because it was before 7:30 am.
I find this route to be more dangerous than the Farrer road route. I need to lane change a few times and merge in and out on several expressways. The cars are all travelling at very high speeds and worse, some bikes just zoom pass you at lighting speed.
I also took the same route home. It was 10.8 km before I reached KPE. I exited to PIE after 2.8 km (est). The whole route was 18.1 km.
Despite better and safer bikes, death toll still high for younger riders
BARELY 30 years old, and they're dead - most of them in the blink of an eye.
It could be a lapse in concentration or an error in judgment on the road, but the loved ones of so many young motorcyclists end up asking in anguish: How could it happen?
While motorcycle engine performance and safety features have improved, the death toll for newer riders remains high.
Experts say this is because young riders still lack the riding skills or experience for the road.
Said Mr Musa Ibrahim, leader for Team Revenge, a motorcycle club that started in 1978 with more than 100 riders: 'In the '80s, you would need to modify your bike to make it go faster.
'Nowadays, the advances in engine technology guarantees that your bike is fast out of the box. Bikes now are lighter, have more horsepower, torque and speed.'
Of the 102 motorcyclists and pillion riders killed in accidents in 2007, 57 were aged 30 years and below, said the police.
From January to June last year, 55 motorcyclists and pillions were killed in accidents. Of these, 28 were aged 30 years and below.
In 2007, deaths involving two-wheelers made up about half of the 214 road fatalities. One in three road deaths was speed related.
But Mr Musa stressed that manufacturers have been designing safer bikes, which have stronger parts, better suspension and brakes.
'The problem is,' Mr Musa said, 'new riders may not know their limits or the limits of their machine. Also, youths tend to be hot-blooded and pressured by peers to ride recklessly.'
And it's not always the bigger machines. Riders of non-performance commuter-type motorcycles in the below-200cc range have also been casualties.
Motorcycles in the 101cc to 200cc class made up 108,991 of about 144,000 registered bikes here in 2007.
Mr Tony Yeo, general secretary of the Singapore Motor Cycle Trade Association, said the issue is 'unfamiliarity with a bike's capabilities'.
Referring to a recent bike fatality involving a novice on a 200cc cruiser, Mr Yeo, 55, said: 'The bike (that young man was riding) was not a powerful one, but riders don't realise that every bike behaves differently.
'You can't rule out that he may not have been familiar with his motorcycle. It takes time to understand your motorbike.'
The dead rider, Mr Lloyd Fong, 21, was run over by a lorry on 10Dec. He had collected his bike just an hour before the accident.
Riders aged 18 to 30 are also likely to make illegal modifications to their bikes, The Straits Times quoted the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as saying.
Some of these modifications could make motorcycles less safe, said Mr Ong Kim Hua, president of Motorcycle Safety and Sports Club.
He added: 'Most modifications by younger riders follow trends which are mostly cosmetic.
'The more dangerous 'mods' involve changing to thinner wheels and lowering the travel on a bike's front forks. When you do this, you alter the bike's handling.'
One cosmetic, yet dangerous trend, involves riding without mirrors for that 'racing look'.
In 2006, 399 motorcyclists were caught with faulty mirrors or without rear-view mirrors, said the LTA.
As to why the 20-to-29 age group remains vulnerable, 'it could simply be that there are more riders in this category', said Mr Yeo.
Compared with bike fatalities in the late '70s and early '80s, today's figures have dropped significantly.
Driving and riding schools like the Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC) make sure riders receive comprehensive survival skills for the road. SSDC also offers advanced riding courses.
Added Mr Yeo: 'What the driving schools are teaching is more than sufficient. Aspects like road ethics and common sense can't be taught. You have to experience them.'
Most bikers do not see the need to go for further training after they graduate. They learn through trial and error, sometimes with fatal results.
But big bike clubs, like MagBikers, Storm Riders and Team Revenge teach new members how to ride safely while in a convoy.
Said Mr Musa: 'At least there is an experienced rider in the group to be their mentors. We tell them straight away if they're riding dangerously.'
Unfortunately, some new riders leave the group because they feel such clubs are too restrictive and structured, said Mr Yeo. 'My worry is that they (young riders) then learn the wrong things from their peers.'
The Traffic Police too try to cast a wider net in educating riders.
Last year, biker outreach programmes targeted students in universities, ITEs, polytechnics and national servicemen.
And enforcement remains a tool to reduce reckless bike riding and speeding.
More than 2,800 summonses were issued in the first half of last year.
Bike experts also suggest new legislation to reduce death rates.
These include preventing new bikers from taking pillion riders, allowing riders to ride on expressway road shoulders so that they don't weave between vehicles and banning newbies from using the expressways.
Added Mr Ong: 'Going for courses and upgrading your riding skills will make you a safer rider.
'If, after all that, you still have not improved, then perhaps riding is not for you.'
I posted this in an online forum:
There are only 12 years from 18y.o. to 30y.o, but it makes up 50% of the fatalities. The other 50% is spread across 40 years from 31y.o. to 70y.o. .
Every rider must have the attitude that he — alone — is responsible for his own safety. Depending on others to drive/ride safely to avoid an accident? That's wishful thinking.
For example, if you encounter a risky situation, try to get out of it asap. That minimizes your exposure.
An example of a risky situation: you're in the third lane of an expressway and you approach an expressway entrance. Do you check for vehicles that may potentially merge into your lane? Do you expect the driver to give way?
I have encountered on a few occasions drivers who turned out without checking. Once is enough to kill you.
Another example. You're on the first lane of an expressway and you are about to overtake two cars on the second lane. The second car is pretty close to the first car. Do you overtake or not? If you don't think this is a dangerous situation, just remember that once is enough to kill you.
I always thought of riding as a mission-critical operation. Not even a mistake is allowed, because it can be fatal. That's why I rather err on the safe side. It's too bad many people think that I'm "prudish" to signal diligently, check blindspots religiously, follow the speed limit (most of the time) and never split lane.
Riding safely is a matter of life and death.
Right now, my biggest risk is that I'm starting to have lapse in concentration. This is perhaps I'm too familiar with my usual routes.
The South Buona Vista road is an accident waiting to happen, say two drivers. LTA has taken remedial action but more needs to be done.
I REFER to Dr William Julius Patin's feedback last Wednesday, "Danger lurks at South Buona Vista Road".
I could not agree more with him that this road is indeed dangerous. In fact, a serious accident occurred there on Dec 12, resulting in its temporary closure. The Traffic Police are now appealing for witnesses via a displayed notice.
Serious accidents have occurred in recent years, resulting in one or two deaths. Consequently, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) took remedial action by reducing the speed limit to 40kmh, installing speed regulating strips and additional signs to warn road users of the danger along this winding road. Apparently, these measures are not adequate to prevent accidents and more needs to be done.
Dr Patin may be pleased to know that I have written to the LTA months ago and discussed verbally the points in his letter, in particular the presence of lorries and cyclists, and the dangers encountered by pedestrians crossing this road.
The LTA is currently attending to my feedback. Meanwhile, I have sent circulars to residents in my estate near Pasir Panjang Village, warning them of the dangers along South Buona Vista Road and urging them to give feedback to the LTA in view of the recent serious accident.
Chan Tian Soo
I wondered what happened there on 12 December?
Every guy, as long as he is in a relationship, will encounter the situation that he needs to ferry his girlfriend home regularly from another place, usually her workplace or his home.
(There is no way out. The trick is to find a girlfriend who works or lives close to you.)
This is one of my brother's "GF Run":
It's slightly over 20 km per direction. Unfortunately, there is only one feasible route.
The blue route is the shortest route to my office. It is just slightly over 13 km and has no ERP. However, the Farrer road jam is a daily affair. Sometimes, I detour and take the magenta route. It's 3 km longer, but it also takes me through SBV road.
After looking at the map, I realized the cyan route is also feasible. I only go this route if I am going to Kallang Leisure Park from office; it never dawned to me I could go to office this way. I estimate this route to be around 16 to 18 km. I always thought it was much longer. Apparently not. However, this route has one operating ERP gantry and ECP may be jammed as well. If ECP is jammed, I will be stuck in KPE and that would be horrible.
Update: my brother's handphone GPS indicate that the red route is the shortest route. I may try it, but I doubt I will use it often as there are many traffic lights and I expect this route to be even more jammed.
After looking at the overall map of Singapore once more, I realized I had not taken the most efficient "eastern loop" route after all. This is how the loop should look like:
Green is from Toa Payoh to Changi Convention Centre. It is exactly 30 km on my CB400F. Blue is from the Centre to Toa Payoh. This route is also around 30 km. It is shorter than if I go to TPE via Changi Coast road (36 km).
The shortest route should be PIE, TPE, Loyang Avenue and then Changi Coast road. It should be around 25 km. However, I've been on this route too often, that's why I avoided it this time.
This episode shows why it is important to look at the overall map from time to time. It shows you the big picture, literally.
I bought a new street directory to replace my old one. I buy one every alternate year, so I have the 2005 edition, the 2007 edition and now the 2009 edition.
The street directory includes a CD and the timestamp of the maps are September 2008, so the maps are at least three months old already.
The fold-out map isn't as detailed as before. Now, it only contains the expressways; it doesn't include even the major roads. This makes it quite useless. The map is now called the "Park Connectors Map". Well, at least the whole Singapore map is still on the CD as a 2925 x 1843 GIF file (1.35MB), so we can still print it out if we want.
Changi Exhibition Centre was so hard to find! Maybe it's just me because of my out-dated 2005 street directory. (I bought a new one.)
Parking costs $5?! Heng, I didn't drive there. I would have never guessed — it was so out of the way — but I should have known better. Where got free parking in Singapore? When I knew about the parking charges, it all made sense: no wonder there were security guards at several points along the access road.
(Note: someone posted that parking was free on the last day after 7 pm.)
The ticket price was pretty high too: $20. I would never pay so much to enter a car exhibition, especially with just local "race queens". However, there were drifting and drag race events, so it was marginally worth it.
I was surprised that the event lasted from 11 am to 10 pm for five days — an 11-hours event each day! The last day was even longer, from 11 am to 1 am, due to the New Year countdown.
The schedule was pasted on the ticketing booth and some of the "one-off" events were stretched throughout the day. The problem is that you got to stay in the venue; the tickets are single entry. Other events, such as the drifting events, were repeated throughout the day.
There was a 1-for-1 promotion on the last day. Just when I entered the ticketing premise, a person approached me to "share" the tickets. "Sure", I said, and we went straight up to buy the tickets. I didn't even break my stride. I bet almost no one knew about the promotion until they went there.
I got the impression that the event was poorly advertised. There was simply no crowd! When I reached the Centre on the 30th at around 12:30 pm, there were only around 10 cars. 10! On the 31th, I reached the Centre at around 4 pm and there were more cars, perhaps 40.
There are no motorcycle parking lots. Instead, 3 to 4 bikes share one car lot.
It is not easy to organize such an event. On one hand, it's hard to attract exhibitors, due to lack of crowd (and high cost?). On the other hand, the crowd simply refuses to come due to the "boring" exhibitors, and perhaps the entrance fee.
The Changi Exhibition Centre is the best place to hold this event. When the last car exhibition (Super Import Night) was held at Expo, the public got to see the drifting event for free. Now, you got to pay to see anything. It was a long walk from the carpark to the exhibition hall. The outdoor events were held behind the hall, so they required even more walking.
Of course, the problem is the Centre's inaccessibility. I saw some shuttle buses, but I don't know if you need to pay. At least the Expo was beside an MRT station. That alone guarantees traffic.
The amenities were pretty good. The walkways and outdoor seating platforms were all sheltered, so you'll never get wet when it rains. (The rain stopped just moments before I reached the Centre.) There were also sufficient toilets, including portable ones. There was even one in the carpark! That's for the carpark attendants, I believe.
There were two eateries, one indoor and one outdoor. Both sold the same stuff, though. It's just a matter of convenience.
At first I was skeptical that it was possible to spend an entire day inside. But after looking at the amenities, I think it is. There were ample places to rest. There weren't many chairs indoor, but the floor looked clean enough to sit.
The car exhibition is quite standard. Once you see one, you've seen them all — there's very little variety in Singapore. That's the limitation of such a small island. Super cars? Same ones. Classic cars? Seen them before. Dressed up cars? The better ones are (usually) show-cased before. Even the "race queens" are mostly familiar faces.
I feel most of the "race queens" look too young to be race queens. They look like they weren't even 20! They should be called race princesses. However, looks can be deceiving. When they were on stage, some said they were 23. The MC also teased out the fact that some of them were unattached. He then said it's because Singapore guys are too shy to approach beautiful girls when no one wanted to go up the stage to take photos with the race queens! Well, I wished I was 23 again. :-)
Some race queens looked really good. I did not take many photos because my camera could not do them justice. They look much better than they sound, unless you like the ah-lian accent.
The new stuff are go-karting and a remote control car course. You have to pay to go-kart (obviously). I think it's the same for the remote control cars.
How about the drifting and drag race events? Well, drifting looks cool, but the cars seem to drift randomly. They don't have synchronized performance. There seems to be only one drifting style, so it looks boring after a while.
The drag race was supposed to be the first (legal) quarter-mile drag race in Singapore. However, the drag race had no commentary, so I had no idea what cars were racing. There was also no score board, so I didn't know their timing. How to get excited like that?
All in all, I think the exhibition was worth the $10 admission I paid. However, it is definitely not worth $20 and the $5 parking fee is totally unexpected.
I finally travelled the full length of KPE two days ago. Some thoughts:
Many bikers complained about the stuffiness in the tunnel. It is still bearable if you manage to maintain 70 km/h all the way!
A taxi maintained his speed at 80 km/h (my guess) even in the speed camera zones. He was on the third lane. I was in the second lane and was maintaining a steady 70 km/h (after adjusting for my speedometer). He overtook me quite effortlessly.
I went to the Changi Exhibition Centre once more yesterday. This time, I decided to take the opposite direction.
From Toa Payoh, I took PIE, KPE, ECP and finally Changi Coast road. It was exactly 30 km to the Exhibition Centre. I rode my CB400F. It means two things. First, the speedometer is faster by 6%. Second, Changi Coast road was very wet, meaning the rain just ended. The air was cold and wet, meaning it may still rain some more. I was afraid it might rain before I reached the venue — I had no raincoat with me. Luckily, the sky remained bright for the rest of the day.
When I went home, I took the opposite direction to complete the loop. I realized that I had unnecessarily taken a much bigger circle the day before after looking at the map. This time, I just take the shortest route back.
I went down Changi Coast road again. This road always seemed never-ending to me. No wonder — it was 9 km to ECP. I went towards Changi Airport, exiting to PIE and then TPE. I reached KPE after 16 km. I then traveled 7 km in KPE. After exiting to PIE, I reached Toa Payoh after just 4 km. My return journey was 36 km in all.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I may do this more often this year. Maybe I should try to loop the west or even the whole island! However, I don't like to ride for the sake of riding. I like to have a destination or purpose in mind.