Vehicle registration plates of Singapore

Vehicle registration plates of Singapore

Motor vehicle licence plates in Singapore are administered by the Land Transport Authority.

Current scheme

In general, all licence plates numbers in Singapore come with the vehicular registration number, suffixed by the official reference in the form of a letter of the alphabet. Two colouring schemes are in use: the black on white(front) with black on yellow(rear) scheme or the older white on black scheme. The number plate has to be made of a reflective plastic or metallic with textured characters made of black (for white-yellow) or white or silver (for black ones). No standardised typeface is used and all are based on the Charles Wright number plate typeface used in the UK, from thinner looking variants used commonly by SBS buses, taxis and goods vehicles and even the FE-Schrift font used in Germany could be seen rarely on cars though prohibited by LTA. ["This Continental touch can land you in trouble", "The Straits Times" February 22, 2008]

*S - Private vehicle (since 1984)
*BA - Alphabetical series
*1234 - Numerical series
*A - Checksum alphabet (the characters "F", "I", "N", "O", "Q", "V" and "W" are never used as check digits.)

Types of numbers

Private car licence plate numbers began in the early 1900s when Singapore was one of the four Straits Settlements, with a single prefix 'S', then adding a suffix letter S 'A' to S 'Y', but skipping a few like S 'H' and S 'Z' (reserved for taxis and buses), S 'D' (reserved for municipal vehicles) and S 'G' for goods vehicles large and small. Also S'J' (purpose unknown- was it for motorcycles?). No changes took place at Independence. Sometime along the way, the Suffix was added. Previously there was no suffix as used in the Malaysian format. Eg (SS1234, subsequestly, SBA1234A)

When 'S' was exhausted at SY, in Jan. 1972, Private cars started with E, Motorbikes with A and Goods Vehicles under 3 tonnes with Y. E was followed by EA, EB with the letters EC in 1973 up to EZ. From 1984, the "S" series of number plates was launched again, but now with two serial suffix letters, starting from SBA. Currently (2008), the SJN series is in issue for private cars.

Other classes of vehicles have registration numbers beginning with specific letters:

*A series: Motorcycles (used until 1980)
*CB series: Company or school buses
*F series: Motorcycles
*FB series: Motorcycles [Ex. FBA, FBB...] , m/cycle plate started in end of December 2005
*G series: Goods vehicles (class 3) [GA-GZ,GBA..GBB] etc
*P series: Private buses (PA, PB, PC, PH, PZ were used to separate Private bus, Pte Hire etc, subsequently they were not issued and all are issued under PA
*Q series: Company vehicles (QBx, QCx etc, except QX and QY)
*SH series: Taxies or Street Hire vehicles
*W series: Heavy vehicles (class 5) (Currently issuing WD)
*X series: Heavy vehicles (class 5) (Currently issuing XD)
*Y series: Heavy vehicles (class 3/4/5)

In addition, the following are controlled for specific types of vehicles, including:

*S/CC: Vehicles of the Consular Corps
*S/CD: Vehicles of the Diplomatic Corps
*S/TE: "Technical Employment" vehicles
*CSS: City Shuttle Service buses
*MID: Singapore Armed Forces vehicles (suffix), originally stood for Ministry of Interior and Defence.
*PU: Pulau Ubin
*QX: Law enforcement-related vehicles operated by government agencies (Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, etc)
*QY: Quasi-Government / Statutory Boards
*RD: Research & Development (like fuel-cell cars, smart car rental cars)
*ROV: Registry of Vehicles, now known as LTA [Land Transport Authority] - Obsolete
*LTA: [Land Transport Authority] , formerly known as ROV, Registry of Vehicles
*RU: Restricted Use vehicles, a special category where taxes are not paid. A vehicle with such a licence restricted to certain areas, for example a pushback truck within Singapore Changi Airport grounds or shuttle buses on Sentosa Island.
*SAFPU: Vehicles operated by the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command
*SBS: Buses operated by SBS Transit
*SEP: "Singapore Elected President" - The Official Car of The President of the Republic of Singapore (SEP 1)
*SMB: Buses operated by SMRT Buses, used in tandem with the TIB series.
*SP: "Speaker of Parliament" (SP 1)
*SJ: Supreme Court Justices - With the Chief Justice's car displaying plate number "SJ 1", and so on.
*S1 to S10: "State Cars" - Used for ferrying high government officials or foreign dignitaries during State functions.
*SPF: Police commissioner of the Singapore Police Force (SPF1)
*TIB: Buses operated by SMRT Buses, originally stood for Trans-Island Bus Service (TIBS)
*TP: Motorcycles of the Traffic Police Department, Singapore Police Force
*SZ/SZA: Rental vehicle. No new issues. New Hire/Rental cars use same series as normal cars

Special prefixes were used for specific events, such as:

*WTO: For vehicles used during the World Trade Organization's inaugural Ministerial Conference held in Singapore in December 1996
*IOC: For vehicles used during the International Olympic Committee's 117th Session held in Singapore in July 2005
*NDP: For vehicles used during the National Day Parade, 2005, in August 9, 2005.
*SAA: For vehicles used during Asian Aerospace.

Middle letter exceptions

There was some speculation as to whether the Singapore government would continue the SDZ series to its next logical sequence - i.e. SEA and then on to SEX etc.. Apparently the government decided to adopt the policy of using no vowels in the middle digit to avoid meaningful 3 letter word combinations. Indeed there was never an SA sequence issued (the S-- sequence started with SBA), although this was because the West Coast Division of Sabah state in Malaysia has been using the SA sequence.

Personalised registrations

The Land Transport Authority has announced they may begin implementing the use of personal registration licence plates (Vanity plates) as early as late 2007, and are currently working on the details of the plan. These licence plates may take up to 12 characters compared to the current eight."Name your own plates soon for Singapore Cars", "The Straits Times" March 26, 2007] For now, there is a thriving trade in the sale of number plates that have significant digits (i.e. lucky numbers) or letter combinations like SGD.

Other colour schemes

Off-peak Vehicles

Vehicles reqistered as "Off-peak Vehicles", affectionately known as "Weekend Cars", pay a cheaper road tax as compared to normal private cars,
although COE charges apply as usual. They display number plates with white characters on a red background. These vehicles are only allowed to run on the roads in Singapore after office hours (7pm-7am) on weekdays, after 3pm on Saturdays and all day on Sunday and public holidays.

In the case where owners of private vehicles choose to run on the roads on weekdays during office hours, they are required to buy a calendar coupon at $20 each per day. Failure to do so first time offenders may be fined up to $5,000 for failing to display a valid day coupon or using an invalid day coupon, and fined up to $10,000 for using an altered day coupon when the OPC is used during the restricted hours.

Off-peak vehicles pay a relatively lower road tax (a discount of up to $800) as compared to other private vehicles and are also given rebate of $17,000 which can be offset against COE and ARF.

Even so, the majority of the people in Singapore do not use Off-peak vehicles.

Commercial vehicles

Light Goods Vehicles and Goods cum Passenger Vehicles uses the G series prefix. From G to GA through GZ, and the GBA, current issue is GBA.

Other categories

"Restricted Use" vehicles display a number plate with a diagonal red over emerald green pattern with white letters with the two lead characters "RU". Motorcycles registered as these vehicles also use these.

"Classic Car" collectors' vehicles display a normal registration but with white lettering on a half-red over half-yellow background, with seal affixed on number plate by an authorised inspection centre. Motorcycles registered as these vehicles also use these.

"Hazardous Cargo" plates were introduced in 2005, using normal commercial vehicle registrations, often in the 'Y' code, but with, unusually, with black figures on a reflective orange background. These trucks are permitted to carry fuel, gas canisters and chemicals (inflammables), and are not permitted to enter tunnels, nor the city areas unless route arrangements have been pre-made with the fire services.

"Research and Development" vehicles display a plate with a diagonal yellow over blue pattern with prefix 'RD'

Motor Dealers and Traders use white on blue plates using code S, preceded by up to 4 numerals for their test drive vehicles.


External links

* [ Vehicle Licence Plates]
* [ Bidding for Vehicle Registration Numbers]
* [ Licence Plate Registration Dates]

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