Just last week the HDB and URA announced increases in car parking charges for public car parks effective from December this year.
Expectantly there was an immediate public outcry on social media with the anti-PAP camp blaming the 70% who voted them in the last round. So many people were decrying the increase and talking as it it was the worst thing to happen in their lives. Which leaves me rather perplexed. As far as I know, even though it seems our roads are filled with vehicles, the truth is that there are only about 950000 vehicles on the road (LTA link here) and this covers the whole gamut from bikes to trucks and public transport. As the increase does not affect bikes, that leaves roughly about 800000 vehicles that will be impacted by the increase. So since the increase is going to affect only a small portion of the population and presumably the better off people who can afford to own cars, why the hue and cry?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t support the increase and I don’t buy the idea that just because charges have not increase since 2002, then there must be an increase now. I also don’t buy the reason that costs have gone up necessitating the price increase. The HDB and URA are government organisations and there is no reason that they have to recover cost. There is no reason for them that they cannot make less or even a loss if it is for the greater good of the public.
But I am taking the increase in its stride. For the record, I am one of those who will be impacted since I have a car and lives in a HDB flat. After all, it is just $0.10 & $0.20 increase for each half and 1 full hour of parking respectively. And there are still many places that offer free parking on Sunday and public holidays – the time where we do most of the visiting. The season parking is a bit higher but still it is only $20 and I think the new 2 tier parking is a great idea and should have been implemented long ago.
In this case, I think the general public should be more supportive of this. There are cost to be paid for everything. If car park charges are low, somebody will still have to pay for it. And if motorists are not directly paying for it, then it means the non-driving public will have to pay for them through taxes. Indirectly the non-driving population will be paying for the driving population. So increasing the charges is only fair and since the increase is not a big increase then I think it is reasonable and people should be more accepting of this.
Seriously I think people like to criticise for the sake of criticism and don’t think through their thick skull. Increase 10 cents in coffee prices? kao beh kao bu! Increase a few cents in bus fares, kao beh kao bu! Me think we should reserve our protest for more meaningful things. If we cry wolves every time, everybody is going to ignore the voices when there is a real issue. Let save the angst for important issues, things that can make our country a better place and not necessary a cheap place to live in. And be smart – only for those matters that we can make a different. In a nutshell, constructive criticism please people.