The recent increase in car-parking fees is wholly unjustified especially at a time when Singaporeans are hurting from a weak economy.
The quantum of the increases – by 20% for short-term parking and 27% for season parking – are also inordinately high. They add significantly to the already hefty living expenses with which Singaporeans have to bear.
Such a step shows that the PAP is unthinking and/or uncaring about the difficulties of the average citizen.
The reason given by the Government for the hike is that it wants to curb car ownership and make Singapore a car-lite place. This is not a legitimate reason but rather an ill-disguised excuse to collect more revenue from the people. The SDP says this because of two factors:
One, if the PAP genuinely wants to reduce car-ownership, then why did it ease restrictions on car loans? By doing this, more people would be tempted to buy cars that they would otherwise not do, get into more debt, and increase the number of cars on the road.
Easing vehicle financing would also put more money in the hands of the Government as well as prop up an ailing retail sector. This serves only to mask the PAP’s dismal handling of our economy.
Two, one of the ways of discouraging Singaporeans from buying cars is to make public transportation affordable and efficient. The recent announcement to increase taxi operators’ license fees does exactly the opposite. The fee hike will ultimately be passed on to passengers. How does a further fare increase help to get more people to turn to public modes of transportation?
As it is, the frequent MRT breakdowns and the woeful management of the repair system is another deterrent to people wanting to abandon private cars for public transport.
It is clear that the PAP’s latest transport fee hikes are aimed at increasing revenue collection. This comes at a time when retrenchments are gathering pace, the creation of jobs is at at all-time low, and wages are shrinking.
It is unconscionable for the Government to be profiting from the people at a time like this.