Private vehicle numbers started in the mid-1900s when Singapore was one of the four Straits Settlements, with a solitary prefix S for signifying Singapore, then, at that point, adding a suffix letter S ‘B’ to S ‘Y’ for vehicles, however avoiding a couple of like S ‘A’ (held for bikes), S ‘H’ and S ‘Z’ (saved for taxicabs and transports), S ‘D’ (saved for municipal vehicles), and S ‘G’ for small and large vehicles. There was no checksum letter, for instance, S. At the point when the checksum letter was executed, these plate numbers were given checksum letters too, for instance, SG5999 became SG5999Z.
At the point when ‘S’ was depleted at SY, in January 1972, private vehicles began with E and Land Transport Authority started to make separate vehicle classes concurring kind of vehicles which already all vehicles in Singapore should bear prefix S because of past normalization with Peninsular Malaysia as indicated by topographical area (An is for Perak, B is for Selangor, S is intended for Singapore/Sabah), motorbikes with An and merchandise vehicles under 3 tons with Y. E was trailed by EA, EB with the letters EC in 1973 up to EZ. E was picked then as letters A-D were at that point in utilized by different states in Malaysia. From 1984, the “S” series of number plates were dispatched again after EZ, however presently with two sequential postfix letters, beginning from SBA, despite the fact that with a few prefixes being skipped as they are saved, like SBS and SMB, as they were utilized for transports that have a place with public vehicle administrators. Anyway, under the Bus Contracting Model which was subsequently carried out, transport administrators under Bus Contracting Model use the SG prefix for every open transport.
Other specific vehicle types
- CSS: City Shuttle Service buses (no longer issued: some re-registered under TIB series while the rest were deregistered.)
- LTA: Land Transport Authority enforcement officers’ vehicles.
- MID: Singapore Armed Forces vehicles (this is a suffix with up to five digits before it, e.g., “12345 MID”). “MID” originally stood for the Ministry of Interior and Defence. General ranks in the armed forces are provided with staff cars with two-digit MID plates.
- MP: Vehicles operated by the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command. (SAFPU plates were formerly used)
- NZ: Vehicles of New Zealand diplomats and Installations Auxiliary Police Force (ANZUK).
- PU: Tax-exempt, restricted for exclusive use with permission on the island of Pulau Ubin
- QX: Emergency and law enforcement agencies (Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, etc.)
- QY: Quasi-government agencies and statutory boards
- RD: Research and development vehicles (such as electric, fuel-cell and smart car rental vehicles).
- RU: Restricted Use vehicles, a special category for vehicles for which road taxes are not paid. A vehicle with such a licence is restricted for use within certain areas, for example a pushback truck within the grounds of Singapore Changi Airport or shuttle buses on Sentosa island and other southern islands of Singapore. When travelling out of the restricted boundaries, such vehicles are either required to be tagged with a trade-plate or towed.
- S/CC: Vehicles of the Consular Corps
- S/CD: Vehicles of the Diplomatic Corps
- S/TE: “Technical employment” vehicles
- S1 to S10: State cars used for ferrying official government guests and dignitaries
- SBS: Buses operated by SBS Transit (from 1973) until Jan 2016. Currently also used by Tower Transit and Go-Ahead Singapore.
- SDC: Buses operated by Sentosa Development Corporation (No longer issued, replaced by RU plates)
- SEP: “Singapore Elected President” – the official state car of the President of the Republic of Singapore (SEP 1)
- SG: Government-owned buses operated by contracted bus operators under Bus Contracting Model. Formerly assigned to goods vehicles, most goods vehicles were de-registered by 1998.
- SJ: Supreme Court judges (the Chief Justice‘s car has the plate number “SJ 1”).
- SMB: Buses operated by SMRT Buses until Jan 2016, used in tandem with the TIB series. Used for buses registered after the merger of TIBS and SMRT in 2004. Currently also used by Tower Transit and SBS Transit.
- SP: Speaker of Parliament (SP 1)
- SPF: Commissioner of Police, Singapore Police Force (SPF 1)
- STC: Buses operated by Singapore Traction Company. (All deregistered, operations ceased since 1971).
- SZ/SZA: Older rental vehicles and chauffeur-driven private hire cars. Since the car tax rationalisation of 1998, private hire and rental cars have been issued with standard passenger vehicle prefixes. Currently SZ prefixes are used on private boats/yachts with (a suffix with up to five digits after it with checksum).
- TIB: Buses operated by SMRT Buses registered prior to the merger of Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) and SMRT from 1983 to 2004. The last of these buses were deregistered in January 2021.
- TP: Motorcycles of the Traffic Police Department, Singapore Police Force.
- LM: Lifting machines such as crane. i.e. (LM123456A) issued by the Ministry of Manpower.
- C: Construction equipment i.e.(C12ABC).
Special prefixes were used for specific events, such as: