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Can you guess what vehicles these are, just from their licence plates? Photos: Sim Ding En and Nicholas Yong

Got Such Thing In Singapore Ah: Different Types Of Licence Plates

You confirm know there are many different types of licence plates here in Singapore, but do you know how many variations there are? And can you identify the type of vehicle based on whether its licence plate starts with S, PU, or... QX?

Read on and find out:


Photo: Woodysee at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

S… followed by two letters, up to four digits, and one checksum letter: For private vehicles.

This combination forms the typical private vehicle licence plate. "S" is for private vehicles from 1984, followed by two letters except “I” and “O” (so it won’t be confused with “1” and “0”), number series up to four digits from 1 to 9999, and lastly a checksum letter.

This checksum letter is used to verify the authenticity of the licence plate. The exact calculation is slightly complicated, but you can easily verify your plate using this handy online tool.

Private vehicles from the early 1970s until the mid 1980s were issued plates starting with "E".

Photo: Sim Ding En

F_ & FB_: For motorcyles. FA-FZ were used until 2005, with FBA introduced in December 2005 after FZ. This was followed by FBB, FBC, and so on. 

G_ & GB_: For light goods vehicles. GA-GZ were used until 2006, with GBA introduced in December 2006. This was followed by GBB, GBC, and so on.

PD: For private buses. Previous letters were PA, PB, PC, PD, PH, and PZ.

SH: For taxis.

TR: For trailers.

W: for engineering plant vehicles, Jeeps, and Rovers.

X: For very heavy goods vehicles.

Y: For heavy goods vehicles.

An SAF vehicle with "MID" in its licence plate.Photo: Nicholas Yong

There are many other special licence plates too, which include:

Up to 5 digits number, beginning with a letter: For power-assisted bicycles (PAB), like the ones used by your friendly neighbourhood delivery rider.

LTA: For Land Transport Authority vehicles.

MID: For the Singapore Armed Forces. Up to 5 digits before MID e.g. 12345MID.

MP: For Singapore Armed Forces’ Military Police Command vehicles.

PD: For private buses. Previously, private buses also used PA, PC, PD, PH, and PZ.

LTA: For Land Transport Authority vehicles.

RD: For vehicles involved in research and development projects, like the testing of new electric cars or fuel-cell vehicles on our roads.

RU: For restricted-use vehicles exempted from road tax, like the Singapore Zoo trams.

Photo: sg5135a, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

SBS: For public buses.

SG: For SG❤️Bus.

SMB: For SMRT buses.

SEP: Only for the official presidential car

SJ: For Judges presiding the Supreme Court. The Chief of Justice uses SJ1.

SP: Speaker of Parliament

SPF: Only for the Singapore Police Force Commissioner

Photo: Sim Ding En

S … CD: Only for foreign diplomats.

TP: For Singapore Police Force Traffic Police Department motorcycles.

QX: For Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force vehicles.



There’s more! Besides the use of letters to differentiate vehicle types, colours are used to signify different purposes too. Regular cars have the usual white letters on a black plate, or black letters on a white plate at the front plus black letters on a yellow plate at the rear.

But here are others:

Off-peak cars: White letter on red plate. Cars with these plates cannot be driven from 7am to 7pm on weekdays and 7am to 3pm on Saturday.

Research and development cars: White on yellow and blue plate. For experimental cars like electric cars or fuel-cell vehicles that are being tested on our roads.

Vintage and classic cars: White on orange and yellow plate.

Pulau Ubin vehicles: White on green plate. Also exempted from tax, but can’t be driven on the mainland.

Restricted use: White on green and red plate. These are for vehicles that can only be used in certain locations, like the trams ferrying visitors at Singapore Zoo or shuttle buses on Sentosa.

Hazmat vehicles: Black on orange plate. Stay away, this vehicle is shipping dangerous cargo.

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