Parking at a HDB carpark? Watch out for extra charges
by Wan Ting Koh
DON’T be surprised if you are charged 20 cents more when you park your vehicle around Bendemeer Market and Food Centre during the busy lunch period.
Charges during designated hours for some three out of four carparks in the Bendemeer area have increased since a week ago and motorists are mostly unaware, if not resigned, to the extra charges.
Since last Wednesday (Dec 1), the Housing & Development Board (HDB) introduced differential pricing for carparks that face high demand from morning to mid-afternoon. For the three carparks, it means charging 80 cents, instead of the usual 60 cents, per half hour, between 7am and 2pm from Mondays to Saturdays. The 60 cent per half hour rate applies from 2pm to 7am the next day.
A carpark sign beside the gantry showing peak hour charges. Photo by Wan Ting Koh.
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The affected carparks include two along Serangoon Road – below Block 22 and Block 34 – and one along Bendemeer Road, between Block 30 and 31.
It’s unclear how many other carparks have also introduced these extra charges but they coincide with the fee hike for short-term and season parking. From Dec 1, parking charges were raised by 10 cents, from 50 cents to 60 cents per half hour for public carparks outside of the restricted zone or outside designated areas close to the restricted zone.
In a response to TMG’s queries, HDB, which manages the three carparks, said: “From 1 December 2016, HDB extended differential pricing to carparks where there was high demand for short-term parking during peak hours.” It added that peak hour timings differ across carparks and that season parking holders were not affected by these charges.
This isn’t the first time HDB has resorted to using different rates to control demand. HDB said that differential parking charges were first implemented in 2009 at two HDB carparks: The Pinnacle@Duxton and Tekka Market. The board did not reply to our question of which other carparks currently apply peak hour charges outside of Bendemeer.
Motorists entering carparks with peak hour charges will see a yellow sign with the words “Higher parking charges during peak hours” hung at the gantry barrier.
Beside the gantry, a carpark signboard lists the parking rates for every half hour, including the new peak hour charges. When asked if motorists were notified about the peak hour charges, HDB referred to these signs.
However, it seems that motorists remain unaware of the peak hour charges, which was announced in June this year.
Madam Poon Lee Kheng, 60, said that even though she visits Bendemeer Market three times a week to buy groceries and lunch, she hadn’t noticed the peak hour charges until we asked her about it.
“I will still come here because I am used to this place. I have alternatives but if I go to a new place, I will have to look for things again. I am familiar with the stalls here,” said the housewife, who had parked her car at about 12:30pm.
A lunch-time visit to the carpark between Block 30 and 31, which is next to Bendemeer Market, showed a steady stream of cars entering the already-full carpark. Most cars, however, could find lots within 15 minutes.
To Ms Roshah Puasa, 45, a delivery worker, said more could have been done to inform motorists about the peak hour charges. She was at the carpark beneath Block 22 for breakfast around 9am.
“For us doing delivery, carpark charge matters. Depending on my delivery, I usually come for about one to two hours so my charge would increase by about 80 cents,” she said, adding that she would park her van at another carpark, and walk over in the future.
However, Mr Ganthimani Rajamani, who visited the food centre for lunch in a white pickup, disagreed. The full-time driver said that 80 cents was okay, compared to carparks in the Central Business District. The 34-year-old said he was aware of the peak hour charges since he visited the area only last week.
“It’s only a 20 cent increase, no problem,” he said.
When asked whether it applies peak hour charges, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which manages carparks mostly in the city centre, said that its practice was to set carpark charges according to parking demand in the city.
“This includes charging more if necessary during peak hours. The charges are reflected on the signage at carpark entrance,” said a URA spokesman.
Featured image Upper deck of a multi-storey car park at Holland Village, Singapore by Wikimedia Commons user Takamaxa. (CC0 1.0)
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