An interesting article caught my attention few days ago. It said that due to new toll rates on both sides of the causeway, the business of several cash wash outlets in the city have experienced a decline in business. It quoted one Bangladeshi worker as saying that business has gone down 50% or more. He also said that majority of the Singaporean customers at the out let he was working in are regulars. he elaborated further that the car wash outlets at Taman Pelangi and Taman Sri Tebrau are favourites for these Singaporean customers because they could also patronise the nearby eateries and clubs while their cars were being washed. Second Bangladeshi worked interviewed at the next car wash outlet said that business has declined 30-50% since August. He was quoted as saying that instead of 2 – 3 visits per week, these days the Singaporean customers only sends their cars for washing on weekends or during long holidays. The article further quoted one customer saying that it’s much cheaper to wash his cars in Johor Bahru versus Singapore due to the exchange rate. RM10 vs S$10. He said he has cut his visits to Johor Bahru from four times a month to once per month.
Seriously, I did not know that Singaporeans sends their car for washing on a weekly basis in Johor Bahru. I think this may be because only the rich owns a car in Singapore and thus they want to keep their car clean looking all the time. I also did not know that these days for the purpose of writing an article, we no longer talk to the business owners but to their workers instead. Perhaps this is more real, I am not sure. From the above, we can see that the car washing business in these few areas such as Taman Pelangi and Taman Sri Tebrau are thriving because of business from Singapore. This includes also the food outlets and clubs. What would be the effect if the toll continues without any changes for the next few years at current rate? I think it may be tough to survive because 30-50% is a lot and may even be either a break-even or a continuous loss making.
I think after a while, it should be back to normal. Just like the tough Hong Kong people who continues to thrive though life was hard then (watch old TVB dramas to understand), the Malaysians and the Singaporeans would somehow get over it and it will be back to business as usual. Perhaps instead of RM10, a simple reduction of RM2 would entice more Johoreans to wash their cars. Perhaps a car wash coupon booklet can be sold to these Singaporean drivers instead which would entice them to come more often or even send their wife’s car for washing if not theirs. Oh yeah, for these Singaporean drivers, the actual difference is upon entry, they pay extra S$5.20 and upon exit, they pay extra S$5.30. Total to and fro would be S$10.50 which is equivalent to the cost of washing a car in Singapore, as per the article. I am not sure if there are eateries or clubs nearby the car wash outlets in Singapore though which may turn out to be the REAL reason as to where these Singaporean drivers would wash their cars. Let’s wait and see, at least a few more months to know for sure.
written on 17 Oct 2014
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