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Lee Kuan Yew actually thought, almost a decade ago, that he didn't go far enough:

“I knew that once people in Singapore could have a car, they’d never give it up. So, before it got out of control, I said you need a Certificate Of Entitlement before a car is yours; and the permitted up-tick in number of cars depends on what the road capacity is. That was the first move. So, you bid for it. If you issue more entitlement certificates than is prudent, roads are jammed. Then a younger generation took over and says, well, why not have more cars and we charge them by the usage on the roads instead of just purchase? I told them, okay, okay, have a car, have more cars! But once you’ve got a car, you will never give it up.” [...]

“I was moved on policy-thinking about transit by psychology. They are moved by maximizing road space. Okay, then you would antagonize more motorists. I would rather have less cars and get everybody to use the public transport, but a younger generation thinks this is the way to go and you are in charge, then go for more cars.”

I remember being in LA in the 2000s, and not renting a car (the innocence of growing up in Europe...). I sampled the buses that took 1.5 hours to go from Beverly Hills to Downtown. I paid $200 for a return cab ride from Santa Monica to Hollywood at rush hour.

In comparison, if the MRT has a 30 minute delay in Singapore it is national news [2].

[1] Tom Plate, Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew - https://www.amazon.com/Conversations-Lee-Kuan-Yew-Singapore/...

[2] http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/commuters-hi...




Random anecdote: I commute by MRT. I guess my average wait time is around three to max five minutes on the platform.

I'm used to public transportation from Germany, but SG's transportation is so much better and very affordable on top. Cabs, Grab and (no clue, never used it myself) Uber are cheap when you need an alternative. I had a car for most of my life in Germany, don't miss it a single bit in SG.


I've used both MRT in Singapore and MTR in Hong Kong extensively and it's simply the future. Individually owned transit vehicles only makes sense in rural areas where there are no options. In larger cities, the only thing that makes sense is public transport. The externalities of individual car ownership creates so many negative factors in a cramped city environment that I'm convinced we'll look back at it and laugh in a hundred years. There won't be individual car ownership (except for collectors) because noone will want the liability when comparing it to the options.




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