By Angelina Dass
SINGAPORE - Minister of Transport Lui Tuck Yew today announced that taxis will be taken out of the COE bidding process with effect from the first bidding exercise in August 2012.
This move is part of three initiatives taken by the Government to make taxis more readily available to commuters.
Mr Lui said regardless of whether the new taxis are intended to replace deregistered taxis or to add to the existing fleets, companies will now pay the Quota Premium (PQP) of Category A (cars 1,600 cc and below).
"And so from now on, taxi operators will be price takers," he said.
PQP refers to the average premium price for the past six bidding exercises.
Currently, taxi companies can bid for a new COE or pay PQP to register a taxi. The latter is only in the case of a new taxi that replaces a deregistered one within six months.
Speaking at the sidelines of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Family Scholarship ceremony held at Sheraton Towers, Mr Lui also announced that with effect from the next bidding exercise in August.
They will pay for COEs based on the Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP) of CAT A under the Vehicle Quota System (VQS).
Taxis are currently allowed to be registered using Cat A COEs, even though almost all of them today have engine capacities above 1,600cc.
"The variety of taxis that we see, come to some extent from Cat A type of vehicles, certainly Cat B type vehicles and some of them are even mini-buses and hence we think that it is more appropriate that taxi COEs be taken from Cat E instead of Cat A", he said.
COEs in Cat E are made up of 20 per cent of vehicles from categories A to D and can be used to register vehicles in any category.
There will be no change to COE quotas already announced for the next six months (August 2012 to January 2013).
More information on COE-related changes will be released next week, before the start of the next COE bidding cycle.