23 October 2014, by Evelyn Tan
Our trusty metal stallion, ‘breathed’ its ‘final breath’ last week after having served us well for the last 9 and a half years. We have had her since Kristen was 3 months old and many of our family’s memories were made together with this car — like our numerous holidays up to Malaysia, the first trip home from the hospital for all three boys, etc; so, in some ways, when the tow truck came for her, we were all a little sad.
After a short period of ‘grieving’ , the next step of course was to ask ourselves ‘what next’? Do we go with or without a car? And if we do buy one, a new one would definitely be preferred to an old one we are sure. We quickly did some research and realised that for a family our size, the only option was an MPV. And given the current COE prices, the price tag of that option was exorbitant! (Maybe a discounted COE should be the next carrot on the stick!)
Not quite ready to feel the pinch and feeling quite brave about the prospect of taking public transport as a family, we went ‘carless’ for the next two weeks, taking the MRT and buses whenever time permits and hoping onto a cab when we needed to get to our destination fast (actually I was THE ONLY brave one here because Darren went overseas for a filming production during that period ). And my experience?
Taxi uncles tell me, strictly speaking, I need to take 2 cabs for my brood because the maximum capacity for any taxi is 4 passengers. With 3 kids counting as 2 adults, if I bring my helper along when we go out, Elliott will stick out as that extra ‘load’ that shouldn’t be there (hmmmm, I wonder if he can count as luggage if we put him in a bag and leave him in the boot ? Hahaha…) Which means to say, I can be out on the streets waiting for a long time for a cab but when I finally get one, the taxi driver has the right to refuse my business because he is obliged to keep to safety regulations to keep the number of passengers to just four! The alternative is to take two cabs to get to one same place, which doesn’t make much sense either. And while we are at the topic of waiting for cabs, it was so much easier to get one 9 years ago before we had the car; these days calling/booking for one in advance seems to be the only way to get on one.
So we try the MRT and buses instead! My verdict? The kids loved it! There are handle bars to hang from and (sometimes) free space to walk around in while they test out their balance as the train is moving! NO..oo..oo..ooo!! Or buttons to press on the bus (several times, at that!) before alighting at your stop. Yes, I understand it is the novelty of the whole experience of taking public transport for them and it definitely will wear off soon; but somehow , after that day on the MRT when I had to ask them to please sit down again and again and again and again and again………..I knew what I had to do.
Maybe not a brand new car this time round, maybe something to tie us through till….. Hey, didn’t they say COE prices are going down in a year or two? ……. Hmm..mm…Second hand car marts, here I come!!