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Asia Minute: Singapore Says Enough Cars on its Roads

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The Prime Minister of Singapore is in the United States this week. He was at the White House yesterday announcing a multi-billion dollar purchase of Boeing airplanes by Singapore Airlines. On the same day, an announcement back home put a different focus on cars. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Singapore is cracking down on cars.

Leaders of the city-state have decided they have enough cars. So starting in February, they’re not allowing any further growth in the automobile population.

Car ownership in Singapore is already an involved and pricey process. You can’t simply go out and buy a car just because you can afford one.

You need a permit—a “Certificate of Entitlement”—sold at a government auction and good for ten years.

These are expensive. And the bigger your car, the more the certificate will cost.

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

Bloomberg reports the current going rate for the smallest vehicles is more than 30,000 U.S. dollars—that’s only for the permit—not the price of the car.

Reuters reports a mid-range car in Singapore typically costs four times the price in the United States.

As for traffic, if you drive in congested areas during peak times, you’ll pay extra.

Singapore has used these strategies for years to discourage the use of private cars—and some of the money raised goes to fund mass transit.

As the government announced the newest restrictions on cars Monday, it also announced that over the next five years it is investing nearly 21 billion U.S. dollars on rail and bus transportation.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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