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Owning a weekend car (OPC car) in Singapore — How much would you save?
Have you ever seen cars with a red car plate? For those in the know, such car plates indicate cars with reduced usage, commonly referred to as “weekend cars”. In the current era where work-from-home or flexi working arrangements are the norm, a weekend car makes a lot of sense.
What are the rules around weekend car usage? How much can you save if you drive such a car?
First, let’s understand the different off-peak car schemes.
There are three off-peak car schemes: Weekend Car scheme (WEC), Off-Peak Car (OPC) and Revised Off-Peak Car (ROPC). There doesn’t seem to be a meaningful difference between WEC and OCP.
Essentially the key difference between WEC/OCP and ROPC is the restriction on usage hours. Revised Off-Peak Cars allow you to drive for more hours, especially on Saturdays and eve of public holidays.
In any case, ROPC was introduced to replace the WEC and OCP, so if you have a new car now, your only choice is to register it as an ROPC.
Off-peak car rules
|Restricted hours||Weekend Car, Off-Peak Car||Revised Off-Peak Car|
|Monday to Friday (non PH)||7am to 7pm||7am to 7pm|
|Saturday (non PH)||7am to 3pm||No restriction|
|Sunday||No restriction||No restriction|
|Eve of New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Christmas Day||7am to 3pm||No restriction|
|Public holidays||No restriction||No restriction|
When can we use a weekend car on the eve of Lunar New Year and Hari Raya Puasa?
The eve of Lunar New Year and Hari Raya Puasa are busy days. People are trying to get groceries to prepare for the annual family gathering, and so, you will definitely be wondering if the scheme will allow for you to drive on the eve of such holidays.
Well, for five public holidays, including CNY, Hari Raya Puasa, New Year’s Day, Deepavali and Christmas Day, you cannot drive between 7am to 3pm if you are using a weekend car/off-peak car. From 3pm though, you’re free to use your WEC/OPC car!
On the eve of other public holidays, the usage follows weekday/weekend rules – no driving from 7am to 7pm on weekdays, and 7am to 3pm on Saturdays.
Under the new scheme Revised Off-Peak Cars, there are no restrictions on usage for the eve of the five very important holidays mentioned above.
“Weekend car” rules Singapore
The good news is driving an off-peak car isn’t as draconian as it sounds. Aside from weekends, You can drive on weekdays before 7am or after 7pm, and you can also pay for an e-Day Licence to drive during restricted hours, when necessary.
It costs $20 and allows you to drive unrestricted for 1 day. This can be done through:
Onemotoring.sg’s online service (not available from 12am to 1am)
AXS kiosks or AXS app
SAM Kiosk (also available on web and mobile)
Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS)
You can buy an e-Day Licence up to 2 weeks in advance, and it can be cancelled before 7am on the specified date of use.
Even if you started driving during restricted hours, you can buy your e-Day Licence afterwards. You have until 11.59pm the next day to do so. Forget to do so even a day later? You have to pay a fee of $30 to declare to LTA within the next three days via Onemotoring.sg’s online service.
Don’t take this lightly though. Failure to buy an e-Day Licence or declare usage within five days is an offence. You may face a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and a fine of up to $10,000 for subsequent offences.
How much is a weekend car in Singapore?
When you register a new car under the Revised Off Peak Scheme, you get up to $17,000 rebate offset against the Quota Premium for a COE and the additional registration fee.
COE prices in Singapore for a Category A car have been as high as $36,000 and as low as $24,000. To get a $17,000 rebate, it means that your COE now costs between $7,000 and $19,000. That’s significant!
Also, you get up to $500 savings on the annual road tax, although the minimum tax payment is $70 per year.
You also be eligible for lower car insurance payments.
Converting an existing car to a Revised Off Peak Car
If you are driving a regular car and now want to convert it to a Revised Off Peak Car, you get $1,100 cash rebate for every 6 months the car remains as a ROPC. The exception is when you register for less than 6 months, or your car is more than 10 years old.
You also enjoy savings of up to $500 on your annual road tax, subject to a minimum road tax payment of $70 per year. Car insurance premiums could be cheaper too.
Registering your car as an off-peak car
So, you’ve decided that an off-peak car is sufficient for you. The steps to register are pretty simple.
- Get your COE.
- Bid for a preferred Vehicle Registration Number (VRN), which is what we commonly call, “car plate number”.
- Let your dealer know that you wish to register under the ROPC scheme.
- Within 7 calendar days, go to LTA-Authorised Inspection Centre to seal your red number plate.
Don’t worry. Even after you have registered your car as a weekend car, you can also convert it to the Normal Car Scheme by going to Onemotoring.sg. You will need to top up the unused rebate, if applicable, and pay the relevant road tax and insurance coverage.