I refer to the article “Higher rates for peak hours at 22 popular HDB carparks” (Straits Times, Dec 16).

60% increase?

It states that “rates at six HDB carparks in Rochor and Duxton shot up from $1 to $1.40 per half hour. The other 16 carparks also saw a hike from 50 cents per half hour to 80 cents now.”

This is an increase of as much as 60 per cent (80 divided by 50 cents).

“Differential pricing” to mange parking: Really?

As to “An HDB spokesman said that this “differential pricing” model helps to better manage parking demand in the city” – why not tell us which car parks in the city are normally less congested during the designated peak hours?

Reduce rates at less congested car parks?

Also, if we truly want to use a “”differential pricing” model (which) helps to better manage parking demand in the city” – then why not reduce the peak hour parking rates at such “less congested” car parks?

What’s wrong with collecting more money?

Otherwise, people may say that it is just another excuse to collect more money – affectionately called “what’s wrong with collecting more money?” by Singaporeans.

More expensive than neighbouring private car parks?

In this connection, how can HDB car parks be more expensive than neighbouring private car parks? – “For instance, parking at Bras Basah Complex is more expensive than at the nearby Odeon Towers, which charges $2.20 for the first hour and $1.10 for subsequent half- hour periods”.

Ever announce in media?

In respect of “This hike is on top of a nationwide increase in rates at public carparks that began on Dec 1” – was this increase in peak hours parking ever announced in the media?

If not, why not?

Increase costs – makes economy worse?

As to “”Said Mr Richard Cho, 55, a watch dealer at Heng Wah Watch and Pen Company: “We are already seeing a 20 per cent drop in walk-in customers this month due to the bad economy, and the increase in parking fees does not help”

However, hawkers such as Mr Jahabar Ali, 47, said the traffic situation did not change after Dec 1. “If the congestion remains and drivers realise parking costs went up, who will still want to come and eat here?”” – when will we ever learn that when government agencies increase the cost of doing business and the cost of living, particularly during an economic downturn – it may make economic growth even worse.

Lowest GDP growth in Asia, Asean?

For example, we had the only negative nominal GDP growth in Asia in the second quarter, and the 1.4 per cent GDP growth projected for the year is also as I understand it – the lowest in Asean.

Even the Malaysians with all their problems is projected to grow at 4 to 4.5 per cent (“IMF: Malaysia’s economy to grow by 4.5 per cent next year” (Straits Times, Dec 16).

“All day” peak hours?

By the way, since the peak hours is from 7 am to 10.30 pm at car parks like Kovan Neighbourhood Centre (Blocks 204, 206, 210, 211, 212) – we might as well call in “all day peak hours”, instead of peak hours.

Transparency – revenue vs expenditure?

Finally, how much more money will be made from 1 December, relative to the costs of operating all HDB car parks?

Leong Sze Hian

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