In Singapore, where a nice car can cost as much as, if not more than an apartment, it is sheer luxury to have one vehicle to every driver in the household. We should count ourselves lucky if we have a car to drive, even if we have to car-share with our husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, between parent and child, or among siblings.
In some instances, sharing a car entails tricky scheduling between the two parties that will make complex supply chain management systems appear straightforward by comparison. This is especially so on non-routine days, when the different personal schedules are most different. People who share cars without clashing or crashing must surely have an IQ above 130, I reckon.
Just as living under one roof requires a set of house rules to avoid unnecessary conflict or unhappiness, a certain etiquette applies to car sharing.
Not replenishing parking coupons, not topping up a CashCard, not refuelling an empty fuel tank – it’s all akin to using up the toilet roll without putting in a new one. Imagine waiting ages to get a parking lot, only to find that there are no more coupons left in the glovebox; or driving up to an electronic carpark exit, only to realise there is insufficient value in the “common” CashCard.
And letting the cabin fall into a state of untidy messiness or shabby dirtiness is like shirking housekeeping chores and forcing someone else to clean up after you.
Other than stocking up on said essentials in the shared car after use, we should also dispose of our rubbish, such as coupon stubs, receipts and tidbit wrappers.
In a typical “threesome” arrangement (i.e. one vehicle “split” between two drivers, with one car key for both of them – click here to know how your car remote works), everything should run smoothly if both users share the same realistic expectations of the deal. But more often than not, this is not the case; just as some housemates are tidy while others are slovenly. Similarly, if one is particular about avoiding door dents and wheel scratches while the other party is unperturbed by these, then problems would arise.
As in any household situation, all it takes is a little give-and-take, some mutual tolerance and consideration, to share a car successfully. Just count the money (and the ownership cost) you would have blown on a second car just for your own usage. And I think we would much rather put ourselves at the mercy of our car-sharing partners than that of public transport.
My extended family is lucky to have a small fleet of cars at our disposal, but most of the time I share a continental saloon with my other half. Both of us are very happy with the arrangement.