List of Abbreviations that Singaporean drivers should know

Drivers in Singapore do not have it easy. We have strict driving laws under the watchful eyes of our LTA and TP officers, we are faced with ridiculously expensive car prices, and almost everything in Singapore is abbreviated !

For new drivers, this can be a challenge. Luckily, we have a list of common abbreviations in Singapore, for those who are new to driving here. So let’s begin :

TP - Traffic Police

You should know this, since they are the ones who pass or fail you during your driver’s test.

LTA - Land Transport Authority

Better known amongst locals as the saman gang, LTA officers are the ones who keep Singapore’s streets organised by handing out summons to motorists who park illegally, and can also perform enforcement checks on traffic/car related matters, such as illegal modifications.

If you plan to modify your car and it’s not on LTA’s auto approved list - you’d better check with them if your modification is approved.

Speaking of cars -

COE - Certificate of Entitlement

Anyone who wishes to register a new vehicle in Singapore must first obtain a Certificate of Entitlement (COE), in the appropriate vehicle category. A COE represents a right to vehicle ownership and use of the limited road space for 10 years.

To summarise, if you wanna register a new car in Singapore - you’ll have to pay for a COE, which is essentially what entitles you to the ownership of the car. You don’t have to worry too much about this however, because if you’re buying a brand new car, the dealer will help you with the COE stuff.

If you’re buying a used PARF car, the COE has already been paid by the first owner who bought the car brand new, so there’s not much to worry about other than the duration of COE left. When the COE ends, it means you’ll have to scrap the car or pay to renew the COE.

You may have also come across the term ‘COE Cars’ - which simply refer to cars that are more than 10 years old (i.e their COE was renewed either for another 5 or 10 years)

ARF - Additional Registration Fee

ARF is a tax imposed on all cars during registration (i.e when you buy them brand new). The amount payable is as follows :

Like the COE, the ARF is already factored in to the price of the car that the dealer quoted you. So you don’t have to worry about this - unless you want a price breakdown of your car.

You may have come across the term ‘PARF cars’ - which refer to cars under 10 years old. They are called PARF cars because you can get a certain percentage of the ARF paid on the car when you deregister (aka scrap) them :

So if you paid $100,000 for the ARF, and deregistered your car in it’s 9th year, you’ll be getting back $50,000 (50% of ARF).

While it states that you get back nothing if you scrap your car after it’s 10th year, you can actually get back some $$ if you scrapped it before your new COE end date. So if suppose you renew your COE for another 10 years(i.e car can be used for 20 years), and scrap it on the 11th year (1 year after you renewed the COE), you can get back the amount of unused COE paid. But we shall save this discussion for another time ;)

OMV - Open Market Value

The OMV of a vehicle is basically the price paid or payable when a vehicle is imported into Singapore. In other words, it’s like the ‘base price’ or ‘sticker price’ of the car.

While you’re on the road -

ERP - Electronic Road Pricing

AKA every Singaporean driver’s worst nightmare, and we tend to avoid this like a plague. ERP are those gantries that you see on the roads, which will deduct a certain amount ($0.50 to $6.00 for cars) from your cashcard if you drive through it while it’s active. Check out the map of ERP locations, prices and more at one motoring.

While we’re on the subject of ERP, do always remember to have a cashcard with sufficient balance and make sure it’s in the vehicle IU unit while driving.

List of expressways in Singapore that you should know :

  • PIE - Pan Island Expressway

  • AYE - Ayer Rajah Expressway

  • BKE - Bukit Timah Expressway

  • CTE - Central Expressway

  • KJE - Kranji Expressway

  • ECP - East Coast Parkway

  • MCE - Marina Coastal Expressway

  • TPE - Tampines Expressway

  • KPE - Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway

  • SLE - Seletar Expressway

  • NSE - North South Expressway (yes, the latest expressway which is under construction at the moment - not to be confused with Malaysia’s North South highway)

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