SINGAPORE: It’s an almost 40-year solution – using coupons to pay for parking, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday night (Aug 20).
“We have ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) and mobile phones, yet we are still tearing parking coupons,” Mr Lee said.
While 70 per cent of car parks in Singapore have gone electronic, more than 1,000 car parks still require motorists to use parking coupons, according to authorities here.
With “dozens of other cities” using parking apps, Mr Lee questioned why Singapore did not have such a platform.
“So I pushed HDB (Housing and Development Board) and the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) to go digital. I am glad that with GovTech’s help, we have now developed an app for street parking. It's called parking.sg. Actually they should call it 'Parking lady lai liao' (parking lady is here)," Mr Lee said to laughs from the audience.
The parking app will be launched in October, Mr Lee said, adding that the app will require motorists to pay only for the duration they have parked for.
“If you park for 18 minutes, you pay for 18 minutes,” he said.
“The app will alert you when your session is about to end. If you want to park longer, you can extend your session remotely – no need to rush back to your car to add coupons before the parking lady summons you.”
Even as the Government works on larger Smart Nation-related projects, it is also working on smaller projects like the parking app to solve daily problems, Mr Lee said. These small projects help Singaporeans learn and adapt to new technology in their daily lives, and prepare them to make bigger adjustments which are necessary later on, he said.
Providing more details on the app, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) said motorists can use the app to pay for parking by keying in their vehicle number, selecting the car park and indicating their intended parking duration.
The app automatically calculates parking charges on a per-minute basis. A refund will be given if motorists choose to end their parking session ahead of time.
The app went through its first round of testing among 2,300 public officers from May to June at about 100 car parks.
“Agencies have incorporated feedback gathered from the trial, and improved the app for better user experience, such as adding a notification feature that alerts the user before the parking session expires,” SNDGO said.
The app is currently undergoing a second phase of trial, and will be available for car drivers to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in October. Authorities said they are working to include motorcycles and heavy vehicles at a later stage.