Sunday 9 June 2013

LTA seeking public feedback on COE, car ownership schemes

By Royston Sim, The Straits Times, 8 Jun 2013

THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) has issued a call for views on how the certificate of entitlement (COE) and car ownership schemes should be refined.

A spokesman said this is to address public feedback that luxury cars are creeping into Category A - or cars up to 1,600cc - which, until recent years, was the domain of smaller, mass-market cars.

The review will also address concerns that given the limited number of COEs, individuals who have more than one car deprive others of the chance to own a vehicle.

Yesterday, the LTA invited the public to submit ideas and suggestions via a survey at its Web portal

The one-month survey will last until July 7, and includes questions such as whether a surcharge should be levied on individuals or households owning multiple cars.

This public consultation comes about three weeks after Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the LTA is considering ways to make the vehicle-quota system more socially equitable.

A spokesman said feedback gathered will help the LTA study ways to better delineate Category A from Category B, so buyers of mass-market cars do not compete directly with luxury car buyers.

She said luxury cars with significantly higher open market value and engine power than mass-market models have become more common in Category A in recent years.

"To better retain the original purpose of Category A of catering to mass-market cars, LTA is reviewing how we could refine the COE categorisation."

As for multiple-car ownership, she said the LTA is seeking views on how desirable or effective it is to levy surcharges with a view to enhancing social equitability.

The LTA will begin conducting focus group discussions with the public by the end of this month, and provide an update later this year.

Mr Eddie Loo, managing director of CarTimes, said categorising cars by engine capacity is now irrelevant as many European makes have low capacity but high engine power. He suggested classifying cars by retail price, which he said better reflects the true value of a car than its open market value.

Lecturer Hew Ka Kian, 38, owns one car and said it is fair to tax those who buy a second.

However, he added: "It will not be easy to levy a surcharge, as the husband can ask his wife to buy it. But if you tax each household, then the person who buys the second car will suffer."


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