No more new vehicles on Singaporean roads starting next year

Vehicles passing through the ERP gantry along Orchard Road in Singapore. Pic: Tang Yan Song/Shutterstock

WHILE Singapore is one of the world’s most expensive place to own a personal car, the government is planning to not allow the vehicle population to grow from next February.

Citing the small city-state’s land scarcity and billions of dollars in planned public transport investments, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it was cutting the permissible vehicle growth rate in the city-state to 0 percent from the current 0.25 percent per annum for cars and motorcycles.

According to the Straits Times, the LTA had hinted at such a move previously, and said yesterday that it was proceeding “in view of Singapore’s land constraints and our commitment to continually improve our public transport system”.

The rate will be reviewed in 2020.

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Singapore tightly controls its vehicle population by setting an annual growth rate and through a system of bidding for the right to own and use a vehicle for a limited number of years. It is one of the most densely populated nations on the planet and already has an extensive public transport system.

Currently, 12 percent of Singapore’s total land area is taken up by roads, the LTA said.

Singapore, whose total population has risen nearly 40 percent since 2000 to about 5.6 million now, counted more than 600,000 private and rental cars on its roads as of last year. These include cars used by drivers that work with ride-hailing services such as Grab and Uber, which are becoming increasingly popular.

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A mid-range car in Singapore can typically cost four times the price in the United States.

Singapore has expanded its rail network length by 30 percent and has added new routes and capacity in its bus network.

The government will continue to invest SGD20 billion (US$14.7 billion) in new rail infrastructure, SGD4 billion to renew, upgrade and expand rail operating assets, and another SGD4 billion in bus contracting subsidies over the next five years, the LTA said.

The LTA will keep the growth rate for goods vehicles and buses at 0.25 percent until the first quarter of 2021.

Additional reporting by Reuters