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Singapore bans additional cars from its roads from next February

Mark Dorman
Singapore says it is basically running out of room for more vehicles (Unkel/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Singapore says it is basically running out of room for more vehicles (Unkel/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Singapore is to freeze the number of cars and motorbikes on its cramped roads from next year.

The city state – one of the most expensive places on the planet to buy a new car – only allowed a growth rate of 0.25% but that will be cut to zero from February.

In a statement, the Land Transport Authority said 12% of Singapore’s total land area was already taken up by roads and there was limited room for expansion.

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However, it said the government is investing Singapore$20bn (£11.1bn) in new rail infrastructure, with a further S$4bn to upgrade existing infrastructure and S$4bn in bus contracting subsidies.

Singapore already has policies designed to severely restrict the number of privately owned vehicles.

Those who can afford one have to apply for a “certificate of entitlement”, which is valid for 10 years. The average cost of a certificate is currently about S$50,000.

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If you can find the money for a certificate, the cost of getting a new car is about four times what you would pay in the US or the UK.

A recent Deutsche Bank report said a new midsize car costs about $90,000 in Singapore – the same car would cost about $24,000 in the UK and the US.

The freeze means, in effect, those wishing to get a car on the road will have to wait until a certificate lapses – a one-out/one-in scenario.

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There were more than 600,000 private cars in Singapore at the end of 2016 for a population of 5.6 million. London is more than twice the area size of Singapore.

No timetable was given for the freeze but the number of buses and goods vehicles will be allowed to continue growing.