Singapore’s plates continue as shown in RPWO and a wide variety of colours and codes are enough to keep a keen spotter occupied for some long time. Two of the outer islands have been allocated their own plates – Sentosa and Ubin – and these cannot be used on the ‘mainland’ of Singapore. If they must go over there, for repairs etc., they will carry SGP trade plates for the journey.
Sentosa’s colourful plates have been known to us since about 1998.
The Sentosa Development Corporation, whatever that is, has a few buses, which are allowed on and off the islet, and have a special SDC code issued!
But we have only recently become aware of the special plate colour given to the few vehicles on Pulau Ubin (Ubin Island), which is a mile off the North-East coast of Singapore, by Changi airport. The island is lightly populated by fishermen and kampong farmers and has completely escaped the rapid advance to the six-star first-world status now enjoyed by the Republic of SGP. There are about ten mopeds on Ubin, of which half still work and about 15 minibuses, which carry the islanders and some of the weekend visitors along the narrow island roads to various camping sites and hiking/cycling trails, for which Ubin has become a popular, rat-race getaway.
One travels to Ubin by bum-boat, for 3 ringgit ($1US) which takes fifteen people at a time on old vessels which you would not expect to be still in service, but which are the pride and joy of their rough-looking but friendly owners. Since registrations started on Ubin, perhaps in 2000, and originally only for a few small motorbikes which had previously run plateless, about 135 total registrations have been made, of which perhaps 15 to 20 remain in use. The system is that of the Singapore mainland, using the PU area code, a serial number (current highest 137) , and a check digit, all in white on a pea-green background.
There are a few special purpose vehicles on Ubin, such as Police Land-Rovers and a couple of biggish lorries for construction jobs, and as these are there temporarily, they retain their normal Singaporean plates.
The SGP government is sponsoring experimentation in clean/non-emission vehicles and has allocated a dedicated ‘Research and Development’ numberplate to the handful of cars being tested on the island.
There may be up to 50 vehicles on test, each of which is connected by wifi signal to a central office, in which its location, performance, battery-condition, range etc is transmitted every 5 seconds for analysis.
This category uses such high numbers that they must be split in some way, perhaps the first two or three numerals indicating a code for the few participating bodies in the experimentation. Certainly there are not more than a hundred of these low-emission category vehicles in the whole country, so 6096 seems optimistic….
It is of mild interest to note that Singapore vehicle owners can choose for themselves whether they plate their vehicles with the original silver/white on black plates, fore and aft, or Euro-style black on white (front) and yellow (rear). About 20% favour white on black, I estimate.
TR – Singapore trailers are now up to TRE, having exhausted TR and TRA to TRD.
SH – Taxis have progressed to SHA, SHB and now to SHC.
New private cars are up to SKJ, having jumped SH (kept for psv’s) and SI (‘I’ never used) and having presumably used up SJA-Z (though not seen).
Odd Chauffeur-drive/Private Hire possiblity.
A very rare sight in Singapore is the semi-diplomatic plate allocated to foreign technical aid personnel. TE is the suffix code for these ‘Technical Expert’ vehicles and this BMW 525 example is coded 36 for the Philippines.
The Consular Corps variant is also hardly-seen, but Taiwan had code 66 in this category (photographed there in 1993, so possibly not current).
Motorcycles exhausted their two-letter FA-FZ prefix codes some time ago and current registrations, for every size of 2-wheeled bike, has re-started from FAA….. Note that, against the trend, SGP still requires a front plate to be displayed, either double-sided along the front mudguard or a forward-facing plate adhering to the faring.
The author’s first visit to Singapore was in 1966, when the vast majority of the vehicles were made in Britain, from motorcycles to double-deckers. I still enjoy finding the leftovers from that period and recognise that many owners are very proud of their cars, which are now collectors’ items!
Finally, a photo which has materialised recently is certainly worth display. Here is Singapore’s eighth car looking as if it had just come off the ship from the Britton* motor factory in England. Unusually for a British territory, Singapore used a dash or dot separator from inception to the mid-1930s; S-8 favours the dash. The driver was known in those times, out east, as a syce – an archaic term for a horse-carriage driver/groom, which carried on into the age of the car.
*I can find no reference to the Britton marque after a quick search……..