Singapore freezes private auto ownership to fight congestion

The monthly COE quota for November 2017 to January 2018. More

The monthly COE quota for November 2017 to January 2018. More

In an attempt to expand public transport, Singapore has announced plans to freeze the number of private cars allowed on the roads.

Currently, every auto owner is required to pay approximately $37,000 for a certificate before they are legally allowed to drive their vehicle.

The number available depends on the number of vehicles that are deregistered.

Each year, the government sets a target for the growth of private vehicles and auctions off a corresponding number of certificates.

From February 2013 to January 2015, the growth rate was 0.5% per annum.

Singapore is a city of 5.6 million people packed into an area smaller than New York City.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it was cutting the permissible vehicle growth rate in the city-state to 0 per cent from the current 0.25 per cent per annum for cars and motorcycles.

According to a press release, 12% of Singapore's land area is taken up by roads.

Goods vehicles and busses will not be capped and will be allowed to grow in number.

The government has been battling to discourage vehicle owners as much as possible, saying there is limited space for further road expansion.

Singapore already had tight limits on the ownership and use of private passenger vehicles; now, it allows the number of cars to increase by just 0.25 percent per year.

The zero growth approach for vehicles is bolstered by continued investment in Singapore's public transit projects.

The certificate of entitlement scheme makes cars too expensive for your average Uber driver to own one.

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.

Government statistics suggest there were just over 600,000 vehicles on Singapore's roads in 2016. Over the past six years, we have expanded our rail network significantly, growing the rail network length by 30% and adding a total of 41 new stations.

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