Roads take up more than 12% of Singapore's land. (Photo: TODAY)
SINGAPORE: The decision to curb the car and motorcycle population in Singapore will not affect Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices “significantly”, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told Parliament on Monday (Nov 6).
In the government’s latest push towards a car-lite society, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Oct 23 that Singapore’s vehicle growth rate will be cut to zero, down from the current 0.25 per cent, for all private passenger cars (Categories A and B) and motorcycles (Category D). This will take effect from February next year.
Meanwhile, the growth rate for goods vehicles and buses in Category C will remain unchanged at 0.25 per cent until the first quarter of 2021.
Analysts who spoke to Channel NewsAsia said that the freeze in vehicle growth rate will lead to an "upward pressure" on COE prices.
However, Dr Lam said the Government does not expect the move to reduce vehicle growth “to affect the COE quota and therefore COE prices significantly”.
This is because the COE quota is largely determined by the number of vehicle de-registrations, he added in response to a parliamentary question from Mr Saktiandi Supaat, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.
Mr Saktiandi also asked if Singapore’s public transport system and commuting infrastructure are ready to take on more passengers.
To that, Dr Lam said Singapore has invested heavily to build up its public transport system.
For one, the rail network has been expanded by almost 30 per cent to 230 kilometres over the last five years, which means that 8 in 10 households will be within a 10-minute walk to a train station by 2030.
The fleet size for existing MRT lines has also increased by close to 50 per cent.
Through the Bus Service Enhancement Programme and the Bus Contracting Model, there will be an additional 80 new bus routes and 1,000 new buses by the end of this year, according to Dr Lam.
“There will be less need to own a car,” he said.
Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo asked if the ministry will consider a separate COE category for commercial motorcycles.
Dr Lam replied that the current COE system sets aside Category D as a separate category for motorcycles so that motorcycle buyers need not compete with other vehicle buyers for COEs.
“Splitting Category D further would result in a smaller quota in each sub-category, which may lead to more volatility in prices,” he said.
With regards to the needs of businesses, particularly those in the e-commerce industry, which depend heavily on commercial vehicles, Dr Lam said the decision to maintain the growth rate for Category C until early 2021 will provide companies with more time to improve efficiency.
In addition, an urban logistics taskforce comprising of members from various agencies was convened last year to develop a more efficient logistics system in Singapore.
One such project is the development of a “federated locker network” to improve the distribution of goods from businesses to end consumers. Last Wednesday, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said a parcel locker network will be tested out in Punggol and Bukit Panjang HDB estates in 2018 as part of the Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for the logistics sector.
The Government is also mulling other innovative ideas, including the deployment of drones, Dr Lam added.
Source: Channel News Asia