COEs

Separate private-hire bidders from passenger car bidders

Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums have increased significantly over the past few months, with the latest bidding exercise seeing a whopping increase of $12,244 in the Open category (COE prices soar ahead of smaller quota for Nov to Jan, Oct 21).

The Land Transport Authority announced on Oct 15 that a smaller supply of COEs can be expected from next month.

Given this development, is it time to review the COE policy - mainly how COEs are allocated between private-hire and privately owned cars?

The population of private-hire cars has increased several fold since 2014, reaching a high of more than 55,000 in 2019.

Covid-19 notwithstanding, the ride-hailing market has seen a significant expansion over recent years and this expansion is expected to resume once Singapore returns to a post-pandemic normal.

Even if this cohort does not expand, it is still far larger than the taxi population.

Since taxi operators are no longer allowed to bid for COEs in Category A, can a similar change be made to separate private-hire bidders from passenger car bidders?

We need a solution that balances the goal of controlling the car population with enabling Singaporeans to fulfil their dream of car ownership without having to compete with the deep pockets of ride-hailing companies.

Kenneth Tan Pheng Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2021, with the headline 'Separate private-hire bidders from passenger car bidders'. Subscribe