Committee of Supply Debate (Ministry of Transport), 7 March 2012
The Vehicle Quota System (VQS) exists to limit Singapore’s vehicle population growth rate. This is necessary because of Singapore’s limited land area and growing population.
The VQS is managed through the issuance of a limited number of COEs each year.
There are currently 5 categories of COEs—of which Categories A and B are for private cars. Category A is for taxis and small cars below 1,600cc; and Category B is for larger cars above 1,600cc.
Sir, many working families with young children or elderly parents seek to own a car, not for a status symbol, but as a utility to help them cope with their busy schedules and multiple responsibilities.
There have been concerns expressed by Singaporeans in newspapers and online that the inclusion of taxis in COE Category A could have an effect of pushing up the Quota Premiums for this category. This is because the private car owners have to compete with taxi companies for a limited number of COEs. In addition, buyers of these smaller cars are often less well-off than large car buyers.
The Ministry of Transport has said previously that taxis bid for COEs in Category A in recognition of the fact that they are part of the public transport spectrum albeit at the high-end.
Could the Minister explain why taxis are in Category A (smaller cars) and not Category B (larger cars), even though many taxis, like the Hyundai Sonata, in fact have an engines larger than 1,600cc?
Sir, in 2002 there were 378,706 private cars, distributed among 35% of local households. By 2008, the vehicle population had risen by 26% to 476,634, but the proportion of households which owned cars only grew by only 3%.
Does this suggest that the private car population is becoming more concentrated in a certain segment of the population?
Could the Ministry look into ways to adjust the way COEs are allocated, so that families with children are not competing directly with individuals and companies who are able to afford to place higher bids for their COEs?