While “expensive” is open to interpretation, Singapore has been ranked the world’s most expensive city the past five years running.
Driving in Singapore is highly organized with well-kept roadways and drivers who tend to follow laws. Driving isn’t a hair-raising experience like it is in some countries and a car with driver isn’t a requirement for safe transportation.
Most expatriates don’t buy a car, but leasing is still a high-cost endeavor.
Why so expensive? The government has placed restrictions on vehicle ownership. First, there are a limited number of government issued ownership permits. Second, the taxes and import duties further raise the eventual price tag.
High purchase costs also translate into high leasing prices. Mid-rate cars can have monthly rates of SGD 1800 and the more popular luxury vehicles starting nearer to SGD 3,000 per month. Even with the restrictions in place, traffic conditions during rush hour can still cause headaches.
Paying the high price for a vehicle is one option, but many expatriates choose another, less expensive path. Public transportation in Singapore is fast, accessible and reliable. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and LRT (Light Rail) work together to connect most parts of the country. Several premium bus services also link the Central Business District with residential areas. All public transportation can be paid for via a refillable, tap-and-go smart card.
Singapore is a place where the difference between expensive and affordable can, to a certain extent be a matter of choice.