In an interview with the media, outgoing Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said that the Ministry of Transport (MOT) would not moderate the unusual surge in Certificates of Entitlement (COE), which he expects to begin to fall from mid-2018.

The COE quota for motor vehicles is usually determined by the number of cars scrapped or deregistered in the preceding quarter. Analysts have complained that the ups and downs seen recently in the car market causes too much uncertainty and is not good for car dealers.

For instance, the rise in COE supply in the last two quarters this year, compared to the same period last year, has pushed down COE prices for small cars from $66,010 in January to $56,209 at the last bidding early this month.

Similarly, COE prices for luxury cars fell from $75,289 to $60,789.

Mr Lui, however, warned that it was not tenable for the vehicle growth rate to climb up to the pre-vious 3 per cent or even 1.5 per cent a year. The current rate is 0.25 per cent a year.

“Every expansion of the roads, every new expressway that you build is at the expense of something else – greenery, space, noise levels, the environment and so on,” he said.

Car ownership remains an aspiration for many Singaporeans, he acknowledged. But a lot had been done to give commuters “real alternatives” to owning a car, he said.

These include: more car sharing sites, with the Housing Board allocating 3,000 carpark spaces across the island for it, and new rules that require cabbies to clock 250km on the road daily, resulting in about 2,000 more taxis plying the roads during peak hours.

Still, more can be done to reduce people’s reliance on cars, said Mr Lui. He cited for example a flexible season parking scheme that lets users pay a daily, instead of a monthly, charge.

“We need to also tinker with other possible changes… that will allow them to gradually change their behaviour,” he said.

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