To meet the challenge of scarcity of land, Singapore will not allow any growth in its car population from February 2018. However, it will continue to expand public transport and make significant investments in this sector.
Making this announcement, Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore 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. The rate will be reviewed in 2020.
Pointedly, 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 very expensive to own a car in Singapore. Those wanting to buy a vehicle, must first get a “certificate of entitlement”, valid for 10 years – the average cost of a certificate is currently around SGD50,000 (USD37,00).
The cost of a Toyota Corolla Altis, a five-door sedan, can be around SGD111,000 in Singapore, including the price of the certificate, or about four times what it costs in the US.
LTA said, “Currently, 12 percent of Singapore’s total land area is taken up by roads. In view of land constraints and competing needs, there is limited scope for further expansion of the road network.”
There were more than 600,000 private and rental cars on its roads in 2016. These include cars used by drivers that work with ride-hailing services such as Grab and Uber.
LTA said, “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 (SGD14.7 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 will keep the growth rate for goods vehicles and buses at 0.25 per cent until the first quarter of 2021.