I have been riding motorcycle for nearly 30 yrs. I’ve my fair share of near misses and langgar incidents on the road. But it’s convenient riding a bike that I just can’t give up. It’s a poor man transport with convenience and ease of parking.
Like many good old things of that bygone era, it’s no longer affordable to own and maintain this “iron horse” in our crowded space constrain roads!
With the COEs hitting through the roof, a small “cari makan” motorcycle now easily costs more than $5,000. The actual price is only about $3,000.
There are lots of low income workers dependent on motorcycles to earn a simple living. Despatch rider, newspaper vendor, courier services, delivery rider, private investigator etc all need a motorcycle to earn a living. Shift workers like myself ride to work in the morning wee hours or return home past midnite after work. To take taxi after normal public transport services operation will be too expensive.
If I recall correctly, the parking coupon for motorcycle initially was only $0.50 for 24 hrs. Then it’s reduced to 7am to 7pm. The latest motorcycle parking coupon is now $0.65. It’s still 7am to 7pm. Two pieces of $0.65 motorcycle coupons allow you to park 24 hrs in any HDB or URA carpark.
Almost all motorcyclists including myself thinking that a motorcycle coupon from 7am to 7pm is allowed to park in any HDB or URA carpark. But it’s not the case. It can only be used for one particular carpark. You need another coupon to park in another carpark. Only recently I came to know about this fact after almost 30 yrs of riding motorcycle. In other words, myself and so many motorcyclists have unwittingly committed innumerable parking offences! But so far, no one is hauled to court yet. Fortunately we are not charged in court for that.
This revelation came about cuz some motorcyclists complain that the EPS (Electronic Parking System) is not fair. To enter a different car park each time, you are charged $0.65. If you enter 10 different car parks, you need to pay a total of $6.50! Without the EPS, one $0.65 coupon allows you to park in all the 10 different carparks. The relevant authority then came out to say that it’s actually the same cuz for coupon based car parks, you still need to use 10 different coupons for 10 separate car parks. That’s typical of how brilliantly they justify and explain away the unfairness between EPS vs coupon.
But let me ask you which idiot riding a motorcycle will use 10 different coupons in 10 different carparks? My nearly 30 yrs of riding a motorcycle have yet to come across such an idiot depicted by the relevant authority.
The above confused langgar state of affairs clearly illustrates the ‘emperor’s new cloth!’ Who is snooping who? Who are they bluffing? If you want to extract more money from the poor motorcyclists just say so lah.
As it is, with the implementation of EPS outsourced to private operators, HDB already saved so much in terms of manpower and other costs. Yet they still insist on charging $0.65 per entry. If you enter 10 different car parks fixed with EPS, it’s going to be $6.50 instead of one coupon ($0.65) fits all!
That is the typical mentality of our scholar bureaucrats. In Malay it’s ‘wang gila masuk, tak kira keluar!’ In Chinese it’s ‘siow jit bo siow chu! ‘ Translated roughly to mean money only comes in but doesn’t go out! The poor motorcyclist earning a simple living could only ‘cow peh cow bu!’ What to do? They can ‘suka suka’ do what they want lah. Who are we when we are just mere mortals to langgar against them? Don’t forget this is Singapore. We just can’t march to the streets to protest like those citizens in first world countries. We really envy them in that sense. We are different from them.
But if you want to avoid paying the $0.65 by not entering the EPS carpark and just park your motorcycle at the pavement, our newly set up highly efficient LTA enforcement squad staffed with neighboring FTs, like desperate hungry vultures will scoop down on you issuing summons liberally like nobody’s business with offer of $70 compound! Either way, you also ‘die!’ Langgar!
We just have to accept whatever changes they wish to implement. We are the poor, meek and down trodden who are never in their equation! We just can’t fight the system. We’ve got no choice but to accept our fate and langgar station in life lah. Who can help us?
One bike coupon = all-day parking?
Above: Programme consultant Karmede Salim, 24, holding up a parking coupon for motorcycles. Mr Karmede, who has been riding a motorcycle for 6 years, was unaware that it was an offence to use the same parking coupon at multiple locations.
By Desmond Ng
USING the same 65-cent parking coupon, motorcyclist Osman Esak could park in different HDB and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) carparks throughout the day without incurring extra cost.
The civil servant’s job requires him to visit several places each day.
But with the introduction of the Electronic Parking System (EPS) at more HDB and URA carparks, Mr Osman said that he is charged 65 cents each time he enters a different carpark.
Though this still covers parking from 7am to 10.30pm or 10.30pm to 7am, it applies only to one carpark.
Mr Osman, who has been riding for 20 years, said he pays about $100 more now in parking fees a month because there are more EPS carparks around, compared to before. Previously, his parking expenses came to about $65 a month.
Mr Osman said: “My job requires me to travel from one place to another, and I may need to park at several locations at different times each day.
“So why do I (and other motorcyclists) have to pay more now? In the past, I needed only one coupon a day,” he said.
Mr Osman said he can claim the additional parking expenses from his company, but often doesn’t do so because it’s too much of a hassle.
He’s suggesting that the EPS detect and charge each in-vehicle unit or cashcard only once, irrespective of how many carparks a motorcyclist enters for the day.
This would also deter motorcyclists from illegally parking their motorcycles along the pavement. But HDB clarified that motorcyclists have always been required to make separate payments at different carparks – a little-known rule to some motorcyclists we spoke to.
This rule was also vague on HDB’s website, which states: “With this coupon (65 cents), you are entitled to park in HDB/URA coupon parking places from 7am to 10.30pm or 10.30pm to 7am, depending on the duration you wish to park your motorcycle.”
Programme consultant Karmede Salim, 24, was surprised when The New Paper told him that it was an offence to use the same parking coupon at multiple locations.
Said the motorcyclist: “I’ve been doing this for the last six years and I’ve never been fined before. I didn’t even know I had to use different coupons for different places.”
He usually only commutes from home to office, so he’s largely unaffected by the EPS charges.
Other motorcyclists we spoke to also complained that motorists pay 50 cents per half hour but motorcyclists are charged on a per-entry basis, at 65 cents.
Retail assistant Lawrence Koh, 23, said: “It’s an unfair system. A motorcyclist who parks for 30 minutes pays 65 cents while a car owner pays 50 cents for the same period of time.
“That doesn’t make sense at all. We occupy less space and our vehicles are cheaper.”
With this feedback, HDB said it will review the charging system with other authorities to better meet the needs of motorcyclists. It did not give details about the review.
HDB didn’t address The New Paper’s questions on how it enforced the “different coupons for different carparks” rule in the past and how many summons were issued to motorcyclists who flouted it.
The EPS, first implemented in 2005, can now be found at 163 out of the 1,819 carparks the HDB manages as of December last year.
The HDB spokesman said: “We will continue to implement EPS at more carparks whenever it is cost-effective and practical to do so.
“HDB has plans to implement EPS in 300 carparks over the next three years to better manage the parking demand.”
This article was first published in The New Paper.