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LTA dismisses claim of PHV influence on latest COE bidding surge

Land Transport Authority recently refuted industry experts’ claims of late bidding surge by PHV leasing companies. Netizens question LTA’s stance, criticizing the bidding system and advocating for a separate COE category for PHVs.



In a recent Facebook post, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) dismissed a notion claiming that the sudden increase in bids just before the latest COE tender’s closure was primarily driven by companies leasing vehicles to private-hire car (PHV) drivers.

LTA asserted that it is customary for bidding activity to intensify towards the conclusion of any bidding exercise.

However, netizens engaging on LTA’s Facebook page raised doubts regarding LTA’s clarification.

Some criticized the current bidding system, deeming it inadequate to address the challenges posed by a growing population, while others proposed the establishment of a distinct category specifically tailored for PHVs.

COE prices for cars and motorcycles rise in latest bidding

In the latest tender exercise on 20 March, the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums for cars and motorcycles have seen an increase.

For smaller, less powerful cars, COE premiums have climbed by 3 per cent to S$85,489, up from S$83,000 noted in the previous exercise two weeks earlier.

Similarly, the premium for larger, more powerful cars has also seen a nominal increase, rising by S$1 to settle at S$96,011.

The Open category COEs, which can be utilized for registering any vehicle type except motorcycles but are predominantly used for larger cars, experienced a modest rise of 0.9 per cent, ending at S$95,856 compared to S$95,010 previously.

Conversely, the COE premiums for commercial vehicles witnessed a significant decline, dropping 7.3 per cent to S$70,112 from S$75,599 noted in the preceding exercise.

Notably, according to reports from Singapore’s state media outlet, the Straits Times, more than 110 bids flooded in for small car COEs in the final nine minutes of the latest tender exercise.

Car dealers told ST that late bids linked to vehicle leasing for PHV drivers

Mr Nicholas Wong, the chief executive of Honda agent Kah Motor, suggests that many of these late bids might have come from companies leasing vehicles to private-hire car drivers.

He noted that fleet companies tend to hold off until the closing stages of the exercise to submit numerous bids, seizing opportunities where COE premiums might align with their targeted price levels.

Another industry insider, who opted to remain anonymous, mentioned a surge in inquiries from fleet companies looking to replace their ageing vehicles.

However, LTA defended that, as in previous COE tender exercises, it is common for bidding activity to surge towards the end of any bidding exercise.

In the March 2024 2nd open bidding exercise, more than 90 per cent of the winning bids across categories A and B were submitted by individuals, said LTA.

“Similarly, across these same categories (A and B), more than 9 in 10 bids submitted in the last 10 minutes of this particular exercise were submitted for individuals.”


The LTA’s recent statement echoed Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat’s remark in November last year, who asserted that the rise in COE prices is “unlikely” due to car leasing companies, who bid for vehicles to lease out as private-hire cars.

Despite LTA’s clarification, no corrective action was taken under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) against the ST article or car dealers.

POFMA aims to protect the Singapore public from online harm by addressing the spread of falsehoods.

Netizens voice concern over COE bidding system on LTA’s Facebook Page

Observing the LTA’s Facebook page comment section, it is evident that many individuals have expressed concern regarding the current COE bidding system.

Furthermore, there are questions raised about the number of successful bids registered for use as PHVs, and specifically, how many of these bids were subsequently managed by lease companies within periods of one week, one month, six months, and one year.

A netizen criticizes the government for what he perceives as a lack of action contributing to the rise in COE prices over the years.

“It’s most prob appropriate for the govt put things right. We cannot be proud that having a car in this country comes at such great expenses”

The netizen also questioned whether traffic congestion is primarily caused by the number of vehicles on the road or by factors like poorly designed roads and inadequate road ethics.

Proposal for a dedicated COE category for PHV rental businesses

Meanwhile, another netizen suggests the creation of a specific COE category, like Cat F, allocated for those in the PHV rental business.

This would allow them to compete without affecting Cat A & Cat B, he said.

Additionally, the netizen proposes that LTA allocate a lifespan to PHVs, including COE renewal, as a clear solution to the problem.

Concerns over COE impact on middle-income individuals and transportation costs

A netizen highlighted the adverse effects of the rising COE prices on the middle-income bracket, leading many to resort to renting PHVs due to affordability constraints.

This trend, he noted, has fueled aggressive bidding by rental companies, further driving up COE prices to their advantage.

“The individuals who rented PHVs ended up being on the road more to cover the rental and this results in having more vehicles on the road for a longer period compared to individuals making point A to B trip.”

Furthermore, he feared that the escalating COE costs would translate into higher fares for users of ride-hailing platforms and taxis, as these additional expenses are likely to be passed on to consumers.

Some critics argue that the decades-old COE system is ill-equipped to handle the challenges posed by Singapore’s burgeoning population.

Easy financing and private-hire vehicles impact COE demand, says used-car dealer

In fact, During an ST discussion in December last year, a used-car marketplace co-founder revealed that the majority of their customers disclosed that a significant majority—seven or eight out of ten—of their customers rely on loans for car purchases, often registering these vehicles as private-hire or corporate.A former motor trade veteran also highlighted the rise of accessible financing for private-hire vehicles as a strategic solution to navigate stringent financing regulations in the industry.

An examination of the Land Transport Authority’s statistics from January to December 2023 unveiled that 29,744 cars were newly registered during this period.

Out of this figure, 3,934 were identified as private-hire (self-drive) cars, constituting approximately 13% of the newly registered vehicles, while 5,299 were classified as chauffeured vehicles, accounting for approximately 17% of the total registrations in that timeframe.

Additionally, LTA’s data showcased a significant surge in the number of chauffeured private-hire cars, escalating from 614 in 2013 to a staggering 46,477 by 2022.

In contrast, the count of privately owned cars witnessed a decline, decreasing from 582,296 to 542,145 during the same period.

Notably, Associate Professor Jamus Lim, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Seng Kang GRC, has earlier emphasized the urgent need for reform in the current COE system.

WP Jamus Lim proposes differential pricing for high-use private hire cars

Notably, Associate Professor Jamus Lim, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Seng Kang GRC, has earlier emphasized the urgent need for reform in the current COE system.

During the motion debate on  Singapore’s persistent cost of living pressures, Assoc Prof Lim particularly highlighted the escalating transport costs, honing in on COE prices, especially concerning cars.

He pointed out the limitations in the government’s efforts to address the persistent spikes in COE prices, and advocated for the balanced distribution of vehicle quotas by transferring excess quotas from high-supply years to those with lower supply, aiming to establish a more equitable quota distribution in the years to come.

Furthermore, Assoc Prof Lim suggested a reconfiguration of the COE market structure.

This includes considering the removal of the open category and establishing a specific category tailored for vehicles primarily used for commercial purposes or Electric Vehicles (EVs).

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COE is the MIW’s golden goose. What do you expect? Throw away easy money?

>> Hot girls are waiting for you on —

Ple as eeeeeee….. this is the xxxxxxxxx time pAp is denying the obvious. Have they not try to tell you “No, foreigners are not here to take our jobs”, ” no, COE prices going higher had nothing to do with rich foreigners bidding or from private hire companies”, “the first lady salary is not $99,000,000? But we cannot tell you what it is because it’s some kind of secret??”.

Don’t tell me you guys still believe them.

MTI disputes costliest city ranking, MPA affirms SillyPore flagged ship passed 2 inspections, LTA dismisses notion that latest COE’s tender was driven by companies leasing vehicles to PHV drivers and President Tharman lauds PAP’s Government’s budget !!!

So there you have it, … all’s well that ends well, if you totally, wholeheartedly and unquestionably commit your soul, heart and mind to this regime !!!

Hahahaha888hahahaha88hahahahaha !!!

LTA what do you expect from a loser minter who GRAB microphone to make his two cts of crap comments in the GE. Hope Lawless Wong throw him out of his cabinet if not just a junior chiak liow bee miniter!

When the prove is irrefutable that PHV has been the cause of the surge in COE and your gov still denies it, that’s when you voters know …YOU HAVE VOTED THE WRONG PPL TO BE THE GOV!😆😆😆😆😆

Just like they dismissed that money launders especially those Fujian gang were not pushing up prices of high end property prices like condominiums and shophouses but so many articles mentioned that due to at least these 10 caught since last year, high end condominiums and shophouses properties were suffering slow volume and price not moving, even falling

The system has been rigged to respond to the “market”
The so-called: “Supply vs Demand” idea.

Who controls the supply side..?