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NTUC To Extend Car Co-op Scheme

'We have to recognise that no matter how efficient the bus or MRT are, there are occasions when we need the door-to-door mobility of the car, but do not want the hassles or the high cost of car ownership.' - Communications Minister Mah Bow Tan.


Mr Mah testing the lastest in Car-Sharing technology - the user flashes a smart card at a reader on the windscreen and the car door unlocks itself. By keying in a personal identification number, the glove compartment, where the key is kept, opens. - Picture by Ali Yusoff.

RESIDENTS at Bishan, Tampines, Jurong and Choa Chu Kang will have their own car-sharing cooperatives by the end of the year. Also coming up are similar schemes for industrial areas in Ang Mo Kio and Ubi.
NTUC INCOME has decided to extend its car cooperative scheme to these areas after a successful trail at Toh Yi estate since August, where 71 people signed up, said its chief executive officer, Mr Tan Kin Lian.
The new locations were selected after a nationwide registration exercise in December, which attracted more than 900 people.
By the end of the year, NTUC INCOME would have spent about $7 million. It hopes to provide 50 cars islandwide, ranging from Mitsubishi Lancers to the Mercedes-Benz E220.
Mr Tan was speaking to reporters at the national launch of the car-sharing cooperative at the Singapore Science Park yesterday.
Officiating at the ceremony was Communicatons Minister Mah Bow Tan, who said that even with an improved public transport system, there would still be a demand of cars.
"We have to recognise that no matter how efficient the bus or MRT are, there are occasions when we the door-to-door mobility of the car, but do not want the hassles or the high cost of car ownership." One solution was to rent a car, while another was to join a car cooperative, he said.
To use the cars, members of the cooperative call to make a booking before picking the key up from a locked box near the designated car park. The box opens with a smart card and a personal identification number.
Current charges are a one-off $100 entrance fee at Toh Yi and $150 at the Science Park, and an annual fee of $100. Rental charges vary from $9 an hour for the 1.3-litre Mitsubishi Lancer to $20 an hour for the Mercedes-Benz E220, with 10 km of free mileage.
Applications for the scheme at the Science Park opened yesterday to more than 200 companies there. Said one applicant, Ms Samantha Ng, assistant manager at Shimazdu (Asia Pacific): "We have over 80 employees and five company cars, which each cost about $15,000 a year to maintain. The new scheme can supplement our own fleet, and is cheaper than buying new cars."
NTUC INCOME is also testing a new system that will do away with the need to collect the car keys from a designated location, said Mr Tan. Instead, a smart card flashed in front of a reader at the windscreen unlocks the car door. The key is kept in the glove compartment.