Car News / Lifestyle

How The Circuit Breaker Extension Impacts Drivers

In the wake of the extended circuit breaker announced in late April, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has since furthered the suspension of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charging and Certificate of Entitlement (COE) bidding. As we continue to stay home and make only essential trips out with our cars until 1 June, how does this extension impact us?

1. Continued Suspended ERP charges

Image Source: Alphonsus Chern

Good news for you drivers who are on the roads for essential services as the temporary ERP charging cessation effective from 6 April will be maintained until the circuit breaker measures are lifted. Rejoice, you may continue to save on the ERP ka-ching on top of the absence of traffic jams.

2. Postponed COE bidding and Renewal

Image Source: Jeremy Long

In view of the safe distancing measures, COE bidding exercises for the month of May will also be suspended. However, fret not as unused and current COEs expiring on 7 April will automatically enjoy an extended 3 month period. Should your COE expire during this circuit breaker, you will not be able to drive your car out regardless of the situation. If caught doing so, you may be fined up to $1,000 or up to 3 months incarceration, or both, with your driving license invalidated for at least 12 months.

Car owners who are looking to renew their COEs can be assured that the prevailing quota premium would be based on the average of the quota premium of the last 3 months whereby the bidding was conducted. Renewal can be done online by bank transfers on OneMotoring. Do note that late fines are still applicable if you renew after your COE expires. If you are unable to refurbish your COE within a month before it expires, you may contact LTA for an extension request.

To account for the suspension of the bidding for April and May, the prevailing quota premium for the months of May and June will be based on that of the exercises done in January, February & March 2020.

3. Vehicle-related Services

Complying with the regulations during this circuit breaker, all customer service counters at LTA and e-lobbies at Sin Ming will remain closed until 1 June. However, you will still be able to access vehicle services, such as paying your road taxes and car ownership transfer, on OneMotoring’s website.

The government have also implemented the following:

  • Extension by 6 months for periodic vehicle inspection deadline for private cars whose inspections are due within 2 June and 21 June, inclusive. Road tax can also be renewed for 6 months provided valid insurance. For scheduled periodic inspection, you will be required to go for it, and Authorised Inspection Centres will be open to do so.
  • Waiver of seal inspection for Off-Peak Cars (OPCs) for those whose road tax is due within the circuit breaker or within 3 weeks from the end of it (2 June and 21 June, inclusive).
  • Additional 2 months to dispose deregistered vehicle if one-month disposal deadline is during the circuit breaker. An additional 1 month to dispose if deadline is within one-month from the end of circuit breaker (2 June to 21 June, inclusive).
  • Additional 2 months registration of replacement vehicle under the Early Turnover Schemes (ETS) for those whose one-month deadline for registration is due during the circuit breaker. An additional 1 month to do so should deadline for registering replacement vehicle be within one-month from the end of circuit breaker (2 June to 21 June, inclusive).

4. Motor Workshops

Image Source: The Straits Times

Should you require recovery services while on the roads, rest assured that they will still be operating. For urgent repairs, most workshops should be open as usual. Urgent repairs do not include polishing nor any car grooming services.

Be sure to call ahead to check and make an appointment given the social distancing measures.

5. Extended Car Park Grace Period

Image Source: Ng Sor Luan

In attempts to assist in the parking expenses of delivery riders, car parks under the Housing Development Board (HDB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) with the Electronic Parking System (EPS) would have a grace period of 20 minutes instead of the usual 10 minutes.

As you do your essential runs, you can also save on car park charges (hooray) if you manage to exit within then. This extended 20-minute grace period will be until the end of May, which is a day before the new circuit breaker purportedly ends.

6. Closure of NParks’ Car Parks

With the elevated social distancing regulations implemented, all parks, gardens and nature reserves’ car parks will be closed. For drivers who may prefer conveniently driving to the park to exercise would have to seek other options to get there.

7. Reduced Fuel Prices

Image Source: TODAY

Plummeting oil prices during this pandemic in recent times have resulted in petrol prices of $2 a

litre. As you make your supermarket runs, be sure to stop by your nearest petrol kiosk if your fuel is running low.

P.S. Diesel is cheapest at SPC of $1.64/litre compared to $1.67 at Esso, Caltex and Sinopec, and $1.68 at Shell (Accurate as of 1 May 2020).

8. Private-hire Car Delivery

Image Source: ComfortDelGro Taxi

With most Singaporeans telecommuting and staying in, delivery of food and grocery has surged and have resulted in a shortage of delivery slots. Recognising this issue, Grab has expanded its Grab trial, until the end of June, for drivers who may be interested to make deliveries with their own vehicles. ComfortDelGro has also launched food delivery services utilising its taxis, which not only supplements cabbies’ income but also makes up for reduced taxi rides.

If you have the spare time and are itching to drive, perhaps earning these extra delivery dollars may be worth it. But of course, deliveries should be done in a safe manner and comply with the regulations.

9. Car Purchase

Image Source: ValueChampion

Hold up drivers, we understand the urge to buy a car that is on sale. However, it is always advisable to test drive the car you are interested in, be it new or second-hand. With the circuit breaker in place, you will not be able to do so and dealers are unable to send the car to you. Stepping out of the house also comprises your personal safety as well as those around you – A bargain car may not be a bang for your buck in this case.

In the meantime, you can browse listings for new or used vehicles on UCARS.SG.

10. Personal Car Care

Staying home comfortably gives you all the reason to be nua, however, do not neglect your car as extended inactivity can prove to be detrimental. Other than your usual routine in ensuring your car to be in good shape by running the engine, checking the tyres, oiling key internal components, washing, and giving it proper shelter are vital.

Daily indecent and long exposure to the outdoors can result in unwanted bird dropping or tree sap stains as the sun ‘bakes’ them onto your precious car. You may also opt for a short drive to allow your brakes to dry after a wash (consider it a reward).

As we continue to stay home and stay safe, only make essential drives out (with a valid COE) if you need to. Remember to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, wear your masks and abide by the safe distancing rule.

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