Best Alternative instead of Owning a Car in Singapore.

My Class 3 license was issued in January 1998 when I was still serving the Navy. I am fortunate that I have great colleagues who dare to lend me their cars to run errands within various Bases or drive their vehicle to another location for duties.

The only 2 years that I owned a car were when my wife was pregnant and slightly a year after our daughter was born. Having a car made it easy to bring them around for check-ups and jabs. Unfortunately, I can’t afford a car due to the cost of owning a vehicle and the need to support my family. However, my wife contributed partly to the car when we were paying the downpayment. This is why I managed to get the cheapest car available, a 659cc Mitsubishi i.

https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/mitsubishi/i/

I like to drive around as it gives me the feeling of freedom and control. Also, it helps to save me trouble and time when running around the island for errands. Thus, what’s the best alternative when I can’t afford a car in Singapore? There are various car-sharing providers in Singapore that I am currently using to drive around when needed. I like to share the platforms I am using and some of the pros and cons that I am experiencing.

BlueSG (Point-A to Point-B)

BlueSG owns a fleet of electric cars around Singapore in different residential & commercial buildings’ carpark. One either book the vehicle from their mobile app or simply walk to the pod and tap the card issued by them to start using the car.

Pros

  • One can pick up a BlueSG car and return it at another location. This is the only Point-A to Point-B service that I know in Singapore.
  • The entire fleet uses a standard model, which allows you to get used to driving it quickly.
  • You do not need to worry about topping up petrol. If you know how to plug the socket of your computer device, you know how to handle this.

Cons

  • If you really run out of juice (aka battery), there’s no way that you can run to a petrol station and find something to top it up.
  • Every minute counts. You are being charged the minute you detach the plug, and the counter stops when you plug it back.
  • You may need to pay for the parking charges when you exit the carpark. The reason is that the vehicle might not be on their list of season vehicles, which is a shortfall of Point-A to Point-B.

I like to drive this when I am heading to a different destination, drop off the car and go ahead with my business. But I tend to drive this during off-peak to mitigate getting caught in a jam.

Shariot (Point-A to Point-A)

Shariot owns different car make around Singapore, and one of their standard models is Honda Vezel. One needs to make the booking via their mobile app to use the vehicle.

Pros

  • For me, they have many pods available around where I am staying, the West side of Singapore. This makes it easier for me to get them when I need them.
  • You top up the amount of petrol based on your own travelling distance, and you can use any pump and clock those points. This is around 30% cheaper than the next platform I am writing.
  • They are using their own wallet to pay for the booking fee. This could be the lesser of 2 evils when a company can just deduct a fee from your credit card, which happens to me twice in the next platform. In this case, the liability is the money in the wallet, which is limited.

Cons

  • The petrol state for most vehicles tends to be very bad, falling near or below 1/4 tank. So you might need to top up the petrol immediately before doing anything. (They claimed that if you help top-up more, they will reimburse SGD15.00 for your effort. However, one needs to take the receipt to submit and subject to their approval. Tried once, and it was a hassle, and thus, I don’t even bother doing this now.)
  • The vehicle smells of people smoking in the car most of the time. I will report such incidents in the app, but most of the time, nothing is being done.

GetGo (Point-A to Point-A)

GetGo is aggressive, and it is straightforward to sign up for an account using MyInfo. However, there’s usually a connectivity issue with their app, and you might need to kill the app and tap it again. They have a mixture of petrol and EVs that you can rent.

Pros

  • GetGo has the newest fleet of cars among the three providers here. However, except for some dust on the vehicle’s exterior, the internal tends to be clean and well maintained.
  • You do not need to worry about petrol, due to how they function, petrol is inclusive and paid for by using their fuel card. I have only gone to top-up once after driving for close to 10 trips with them. (They claimed to give you credit to reward you for topping up the petrol. However, I did not get anything from them.)
  • Most of the information about their process and cars can be found online, which is very helpful. If you are not familiar with the vehicle you are renting, you can find almost everything you need online.

Cons

  • You are being charged for the distance that you drove. Therefore, if you decide to take this car for your sightseeing trip, it might be slightly better to consider another alternative.
  • You can only get to Esso for topping up the petrol if you are using their fuel card. Not that much of a con if you plan your trip well.
  • Once you book the vehicle, the rental is deducted immediately from your credit card. This is good most of the time, except that they put on hold two amounts on my card when I am not booking any trips. After contacting them, they did not know what’s the issue and did not get back to me on their findings. This is the scary part. You might be deduced an amount without your knowledge.

Summary

Each platform presents its own advantages and challenges, and we need to be aware of them and deal with them. I am already fortunate enough to be facing a few issues and having the means to rent a car when I need it. It still cannot compare to owning a car myself, but this is the next best alternative that I can get at the moment.

Those issues will continue to be here, and they will worsen as the car ages. Unless one has a monopoly advantage, one will be subjected to competition from another player. Personally, the only factor that could retain the customer is the experience given. The customer is treated as an individual instead of just someone using the platform.

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Sunny Tan HC

Sunny Tan HC

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Continuous Improvement | CX | DX | Ex- Technoprenuer | Project Manager | Vacathoner | Medium Writer