Car-Sharing Scheme Receives Good Response
By The Straits Times | 31 AUGUST 1997

Mr Sam Quik, 25, shares his car with 35 other Toh Yi residents. - Picture by DENISE TAN

They are members of the first car co-operative scheme car pool launched by NTUC Income earlier this month. Mr Toh, who does not own a year, said yesterday that the scheme would make family outings a lot easier. He said: "Now, I can take my family to hard-to-reach places where taxis won't go, such as reservoirs."
He is one of about 16 residents who have booked the cars since the scheme started operations on Friday. NTUC's business development manager, Mr Lai Meng, said yesterday: "The reaction to the scheme was very good but we had to limit it to 20 people per car, so we had to turn down 106 applicants."
But the company might increase the number of cars on the scheme if the system works well. During the first two days of operation, all reservations were accepted, except for a last-minute booking yesterday evening which had to be turned down.
Those who are qualified to join pay a one-off $100 entrance fee and an annual fee of $100, plus a refundable $200 deposit. The rental charge is $9 an hour.
Bookings of the cars by phone can be made up to six months in advance, but cars must be booked for at least half an hour. Drivers collect their keys at the void deck of Block 1, Toh Yi Drive, from a counter box which is operated by a smart card.
Many of the co-operative members were actually previous car owners, said Mr Lai. Engineer William Wong, for example, had been a car owner for the past 30 years, before he sold his car earlier this year and joined the co-operative scheme.
Mr Wong, who is in his 50s, said: "It's a waste of money to own a car nowadays, especially when you have to sell your car every seven to 10 years." Car owners also have to worry about additional costs, such as road tax, car insurance, carpark fees and petrol cost. But under the co-operative, these costs are all covered by NTUC.
Mr Wong, who spends half his time working overseas, said: "This way, I only pay as I drive and can save up to S$600 a month." He added that he would be using the car about three times a week and had an overnight booking for a car yesterday.
However, all co-operative members must observe a strict set of rules. Penalties will be imposed when the rules are broken. Such penalties include a $25 fine for those who return a car more than 10 minutes late or with less than a quarter-full petrol tank.
Members who cancel bookings at the last minute would also be asked to pay a 50 per cent penalty, up to a maximum of $25. These penalties are needed to ensure fair usage of the cars, said Mr Lai.