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Singapore to stop adding cars on its roads in 2018

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This photograph taken on May 31, 2016 shows motorists enter the central business district during morning peak period in Singapore. -- AFP

SINGAPORE — Singapore, among the world’s most expensive places to own a vehicle, will stop adding cars on its roads next year.

The government will cut the annual growth rate for cars and motorcycles to zero from 0.25% starting in February, the transport regulator said on Monday.

“In view of land constraints and competing needs, there is limited scope for further expansion of the road network,” the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement on its Web site. Roads already account for 12% of the city-state’s total land area, it said.

Smaller than New York City, land in Singapore is a precious commodity and officials want to ensure the most productive use of the remaining space. Its infrastructure is among the world’s most efficient and the government is investing S$28 billion ($21 billion) more on rail and bus transportation over the next five years, the regulator said.

Singapore requires car owners to buy permits — called Certificates of Entitlement — that allow holders to own their vehicles for 10 years. These permits are limited in supply and auctioned monthly by the government. At the most recent offering last week, the permit cost S$41,617 for the smallest vehicles.

The LTA said the zero-growth target will affect vehicles in Categories A, B and D under its permit system — these include cars and motorcycles. The existing vehicle growth rate of goods vehicles and buses will remain at 0.25% per annum until March 2021 to give businesses time to improve the efficiency of their operations and reduce the number of commercial vehicles they require, LTA said.

These changes are not expected to significantly affect the supply of permits since the quota is determined largely by the number of vehicle deregistrations, the regulator said. The limit on vehicle growth rate will be reviewed again in 2020. — Bloomberg

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