FAKE NEWS: AFP claims Singapore government will not allow any more cars on local roads

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International news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has published and circulated fake news that the Singapore Government will no longer allow cars on local roads.

AFP is the third largest news agency in the world, after the Associated Press and Reuters. Having been founded in 1944, the agency is headquartered in Paris, France.

Reputed news publications like The Guardian have re-published the piece, entitled Singapore: no more cars allowed on the road, government says, on their website. The piece is still up at the time of publishing this article.

The AFP article is referring to Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s announcement yesterday that the growth rate for COE Categories A, B and D will be cut from the current 0.25% per annum to 0%, with effect from February 2018 until at least 2020.

Category A refers to cars up to 1,600 CC and 97 KW, and Category B refers to cars above 1,600 CC or 97 KW, while Category D refers to motorcycles.

Category C, which refers to buses and goods vehicles, will not be affected so as to “…provide businesses more time to improve the efficiency of their logistics operations and reduce the number of commercial vehicles that they require.”

The LTA said in a press release on its website that the decision to cut the growth rate for cars and motorcycles was made because “in view of land constraints and competing needs, there is limited scope for further expansion of the road network.”

It added that public transport will step up and that the government has set aside a whopping $28 billion dollars to improve the public transport system:

“LTA will continue to improve our public transport system. Over the past six years, we have expanded our rail network significantly, growing the rail network length by 30% and adding a total of 41 new stations. Through the $1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme and Bus Contracting Model, we have added new routes and injected greater capacity into the bus network while raising service levels. The Government will continue to invest $20 billion in new rail infrastructure, $4 billion to renew, upgrade and expand rail operating assets, and another $4 billion in bus contracting subsidies over the next five years to improve public transport.”

It must be noted that zero growth for cars and motorcycles does NOT mean that no cars will be allowed on local roads.

In fact, LTA made clear in the press release yesterday that the growth cut is “not expected to significantly affect the supply of COEs”:

“The adjustments to the vehicle growth rate are not expected to significantly affect the supply of COEs, as the COE quota is determined largely by the number of vehicle deregistrations.”

To claim that the growth cut means that no cars will be allowed on the roads is, therefore, false.

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