The growth of new vehicles in Singapore will be gradually reduced from the current 1.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent by August 2012.
Outlining the gradual change, the Land Transport Authority said on Friday that the current 1.5 per cent rate will be maintained from next February until July 2012 and will be lowered to 0.5 per cent in August.
With this change, the net growth rate for next year will work out to be 1 per cent.
In a Facebook note posted on Friday morning, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew addressed concerns that reducing the vehicle growth rate would lead to Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices rising steeply.
He said the graduated changes and an expected increase in the de-registration of vehicles is expected to bring about “relatively stable quota numbers over the next one year or so”.
“And if the de-registration trends remain generally stable, then it is likely that we should see higher quota numbers from 2013 onwards,” he added.
Responding to suggestions to build more roads as well as ideas on tweaking the COE system, say by restricting the number of cars per household, Lui said the ministry will “certainly build more roads” but there is “a limit to what we can do given the many competing demands for land”.
As every family has different needs, it would be difficult to determine the number of cars a family deserves, he added.
“We really have to strike a balance, ensuring that we rely on both our COE and ERP (electronic road pricing) policies to better manage road congestion, and from time to time, make small changes to these policies,” he wrote.
In a separate release, the transport minister set out on Friday his ministry’s five-year goals in an addendum to the President’s Address.
For car owners, the ministry will fine-tune the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system so that it will be “more effective and targeted”. Lui said in the addendum, “There is scope to fine-tune ERP application where trips are predominantly home-bound and some congestion is tolerable.”
The authority is also contemplating implementing a next-generation ERP system that increases the scope for real-time intelligent traffic management systems to improve the driving experience.
Lui pledged, “We will develop a five-year action plan to improve bus capacity, service and connectivity.” This includes upgrading major bus stops, implementing more bus priority measures and building more integrated transport hubs.
Steps will also be taken to enhance the commuter’s experience and more MRT stations will have barrier-free routes. In five years, 80 per cent of bus services will be wheel-chair accessible, instead of about 30 per cent currently.
Lui added that the government will also review the public transport fare adjustment formula to ensure fares remain affordable for commuters and sustainable for the public transport industry.
In the longer term, the government will continue to invest heavily to expand the rail network. Beyond the $20 billion invested in existing rail lines and $60 billion for new rail lines, it is also finalising plans for additional lines and extension beyond 2010 to improve the network and serve new areas.
The Transport Ministry aims to project public transport as an “attractive and viable alternative” to cars, and by 2020 have seven out of every 10 morning journeys travelled by bus or train.