Hello, and thank you in advance for hearing me out.
LTA has unfairly victimized my father. I have evidence suggesting that its black sheep have given irresponsible fines, and remain blindly protected by LTA. Can we still trust LTA today? When I tried writing to them to explain how the traffic warden’s irresponsibility victimized my father, they blindly supported the traffic warden and insisted that we were completely in the wrong, using stock answers to avoid any responsibility on themselves. Is it time to ask ourselves and the government whether LTA should still let its contractors fine freely, acting like it owns the law?
During BMT in Tekong, I was frequently peeing blood after training, and was given an appointment at CGH to get the condition diagnosed. Because of the abdominal pain, it didn’t help that I had to find my way to CGH alone from Tekong, with my field pack filled up behind me.
My father helped me by driving to Tampines Mall to meet me. But he ran into a problem. The official unloading area for goods shares an entrance with the drop-off point and car park and there was no legal and safe way to turn into the mall’s drop-off point to pick me up because of the long queue of lorries waiting to enter the full and congested unloading area. After circling around the road two times, he found no alternative and was forced to queue behind these lorries, although the shared queue was stagnant for some 10 minutes because all unloading spaces were filled.
He called me about the traffic situation and said I would have to exit the mall from the drop-off point to find him instead, since he was in a queue that never moved. The drop-off point was free of charge, safe and convenient but it was just not possible for my father to enter because of the perpetual congestion.
My father had hastily rented the car from CarClub out of concern for his only son’s condition, and I had little idea which car it was. And I was clueless about directions around Tampines. I couldn’t find him, so I asked him to wave to me when he saw me instead, since I was in obvious, glaring camo green but there was a sea of congested vehicles.
He tried looking around for me, and stood up to get a better view because his view was obstructed in the car, but when he got out of the car and stood on the pavement, the lorry in front of his car just finished unloading illegally and left the queue. At the same time, a traffic warden walked past and instantly came up with a camera after the lorry left.
My father walked up to her immediately and politely explained that he was not parking, he has been queuing (for ages); but the traffic warden started taking photos immediately, and failed to even acknowledge my father’s presence and attempt to tell her that she has misunderstood the situation. He was three feet away. In fact, she kept taking more photos as my father tried explaining to her. The traffic warden ignored his words, then walked to the roadside to stand on the pavement and chat with her colleague.
For the subsequent 10 minutes my father waited for her to issue a parking ticket, but she failed to do so as well.
When I wrote a letter for my father to LTA about it later on, they claimed to have investigated the matter, and insisted that their traffic warden did nothing wrong. Should we believe LTA? The traffic warden acted blind and deaf the moment she found one potential car to fine, and never appeared to care about anything else. If she did, she would have communicated with my father properly and made sure that if what he was doing was wrong and deserved a fine, he should at least be told to leave that spot.
How can we still believe LTA’s stock reply, that there is no quota system that allows their wardens to sit back once it is fulfilled? How can we still believe that LTA’s traffic wardens are there for our benefit, when they are just running around taking pictures of cars without trying to understand the situation on the road at the time?
After I spent countless hours and words for appeal, LTA merely returned similar stock answers over and over, claiming that just because they have one picture of one instant where the car was stopped by the roadside (because my father was walking up to the traffic warden to explain the situation to her), there is no contest that this was illegal parking.
If this is not unreasonable, I don’t know what is. Imagine if all traffic wardens went to every car park entrance with a queue and took a picture for every car that didn’t move forward immediately when the queue moved. They’d get countless pictures of drivers who theoretically “parked illegally” by their definition, although that is practically not the truth. This way they could easily frame another ten thousand drivers for illegal parking and still call their methods legally legitimate, if they wanted. What uncontested power they possess.
But this is what I think, and I hope you agree. A single picture taken without a reasonable time frame for reference and knowledge of the situation in the surroundings is irresponsible law enforcement and unsubstantial evidence. How can we be accepting a single picture taken by LTA’s contractors be definitive, unquestionable proof of offence?
It is perhaps time to even ask, how can their performance be monitored to ensure that they are working? And again, don’t they naturally have a quota to fulfill? What happens then, when there are fewer and fewer offenders? Do the innocent get picked, is that what happened to us?
It takes so much evidence to convict a suspect for every other crime, and yet somehow LTA gives its contractors unlimited power to fine any car they can take a picture of that is even potentially usable for the purpose. What happens when the warden is wrong? Should the government assume that traffic wardens are perfect?
After interviewing a security guard, supermarket staff in the unloading bay and a man unloading his goods illegally, their answers were clear and unanimous: The road has been plagued by illegal unloading problems for many years because the unloading zone is undersized, perpetually overcrowded and expensive to use, causing a congestion around the shared entrance, so all other cars to be unable to enter the drop-off point AND carpark as well, and LTA has somehow been unable to actually fix the problem the whole time.
By LTA’s definition, yes. My father theoretically committed a traffic offence briefly because in the seconds while the photos were taken, he left the driver’s seat while queuing, with the intention of waving to me when he sees me (and later remaining outside the car to unsuccessfully attempt communication with the traffic warden).
He was anxious because I had internal injury and bleeding, it was painful, and I was walking around with a heavy field pack, half-lost, looking for him in an area I had never been to. I would consider such a situation more or less an emergency.
And practically, queuing is legal. And he had indeed been queuing in the same spot for 10 minutes.
Can LTA still say that he was illegally parking for that specific moment just because urgent circumstances prevented him from moving his car immediately when the queue moved? Yes, they have the right to say it blindly every time.
But we just want to make it clear, his sick son’s welfare was undoubtedly an emergency to him, and all he did was stand beside his car for less than a minute while no one was queuing behind him. It is completely unfair that motorists are expected to be perfect and move immediately with zero delay or be fined, when LTA has evidently failed to find any effective solution for this congestion problem for years. We became victims of this road’s constant structural congestion problem, but LTA made us pay for their inability to fix it, twofold.
I am submitting a simple suggestion to permanently solve the problem: (as shown in last section of video)
What’s happening now, you ask? After over half a year of emailing back and forth fruitlessly, LTA has demanded that my father go to court and pay the fine, so we went to our Meet-the-MP session and asked for help. The volunteers there helped us write to LTA again, and said that we have very strong reasons and evidence for the case and they all support us, encouraging us by telling us that they have all gotten successful parking fine appeals before, with reasons not as strong as ours.
My father just wanted to communicate the problems he found, and discuss it with LTA itself, but the organization has essentially ignored us all along. No matter how hard we try, there is no more room for compromise. Now it’s time for your help, to be our judge. To help us, please comment and discuss this. I will submit a separate letter to the relevant authorities about LTA’s issues, and by then I hope to have netizens’ collective brainstorming and opinions to make it more substantial and productive.
This is about now, but this is also about the future. If someone wrote in to fix the problem a year ago, my family wouldn’t have to be victimized. If I don’t write in now, we can be pretty sure that every other month down the road, another poor motorist might have to deal with what we had to. I look forward to your comments, supportive or otherwise. Thank you for your time.
We are worried about somehow losing the court case, but we have spoken nothing but the truth, and we know that the cause is righteous and just. We feel obligated to take the risk and believe that LTA and the government will hear our plight, because we can see that LTA is in need of improvement and we need to let them know.