Singapore to ban additional cars on the road next year

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

Singapore says it will freeze the number of cars on its roads from next February, as part of its continuing bid to limit the number of vehicles on its roads.

While owning a auto remains an aspiration for some, higher prices that could result from a tighter vehicle supply could mean more consumers ultimately keeping to the more economical option of taking public transport.

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

The annual vehicle growth rate for goods vehicles and buses will stay at 0.25% until the first quarter of 2021, LTA said. From that point on, the small country has gradually reduced yearly growth to 0.25 per cent. As of this year, Singapore's Department of Statistics says the city-state is home to more than 5.6 million people.

"In view of Singapore's land constraints and our commitment to continually improve our public transport system, we will lower the vehicle growth rate from the current 0.25% per annum to 0% with effect from February 2018 for COE Categories A, B and D", LTA wrote in a press release.

The body noted that the change is necessary as Singapore faces "limited scope for further expansion of the road network", with roads making up 12% of Singapore's land area.

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 rate will be reviewed in 2020.

The total number of vehicles peaked at 974,170 in 2013 and declined to 956,430 in 2016. In addition to this, Singapore's fleet also included 154,507 commercial vehicles and buses, and 142,514 motorcycles.

The government has been battling to discourage vehicle owners as much as possible, saying there is limited space for further road expansion. Certificates now cost around $50,000 Singapore dollars (US$36,000), so many people rent cars instead.

Despite the government's policies, there are almost one million vehicles on Singapore's roads.