Saturday, 30 July 2011

Parking in Singapore, and Everything In Between (Not Just for the Noobs)

I have recently been slapped with a few annoying parking fines within 2 weeks. And I HARDLY drive the van can... Somehow I will always put like $5 to $6 worth of coupons if I'm going to be somewhere for quite a while (White lots), and then I will be a little late (like, 15 min, half hour, occasionally a little over an hour) to find that #%^&%!%$#^ white slip on my windscreen that makes me wanna go KNNJDCYDCCB #$%^~%$ and kick the parking attendant.

Me? Violent? I don't mind donating money to charity you know, but ask me to pay $20 to the government when they're already eating up so much money from ERP charges and COEs (that's WITHOUT solving the traffic congestion issues, mind you...), kuh jia sai. 

So I got fed up, and decided to nose around the HDB site to see if there's an easier way of paying for parking (instead of having your dashboard filled with 15 purple 50-cent coupons), in carparks which have not yet utilised the EPS (cashcard system).

I was amazed at how many types of coupons there were.....

Before I go on about the coupons, I think I'll go a little into how HDB/URA carparks work. This info should come in useful for drivers who have JUST gotten their licence, or actually, first time drivers and car owners.

For motorbikes, I'll cover in brief (look out for the purple text), because I'll do a separate post purely Bike-relevant. ;)

If the carparks are using EPS (Electronic Parking System), easy. Just make sure your cashcard has sufficient funds before you leave. A safe amount to top up each time for a car cashcard (it's the same cashcard with cars and bikes la...just that it's easier to make references like that) would be $50. I remember before I bought my bike and was driving my little red car (I've had this thing for red vehicles...every single one of my vehicles have been red so far...lol) a $50 cashcard would barely cover a week. Yah...shiong...I know...with the increased ERP charges and somehow-no-longer-per-entry charges on weekends for many shopping mall carparks, I think you'll be seeing the cashcard top-up machine quite often, EVEN with a $50 credit on your card. 
 
Bikers, some of these carparks are kinda troublesome, they require you to manually insert your cashcard and will deduct payment UPON ENTRY. An example would be the Cairnhill Carpark beside Heeren off Bideford Road, and Bugis Junction. So make sure your cashcard always has sufficient funds BEFORE you leave for your destination. 

For me, I find that a cashcard with $20 can last me a good 2-3 months, assuming I don't go to town that often, and don't usually in these automated carparks unless I don't have a choice. Tell you why later.


One easy way of not having to top up your cashcard so often, is to link your IU with your credit card, using MotorPay. This is EXTREMELY useful if you're the forgetful sort who will often kena fined simply because you forgot to insert your cashcard, or if your IU doesn't have the cover. Most car owners with IU w/o cover will remove their cashcards after they park, and often when they drive out the next time, will forget to insert the cashcard. Unless it's a Sunday, ALWAYS have your cashcard in the IU. With more ERP gantries popping up at unexpected places, and them shifting the gantries around, you'll never know if you'll go pass one. 

As I was saying, link the IU with your credit card. So even if you forget to insert the cashcard or CEPAS-compliant card (more on that later), it doesn't matter. The ERP gantries will detect your IU when you pass under them, and the IU will only reflect how much has been deducted. The charges go direct to your credit card, and you pay at the end of the month when your credit card bill coms. Convenient? 

You don't know this service exists? *tsk tsk tsk*

Okay first and foremost, ensure you have the following:
  • A valid Visa/Mastercard with at least 9 months' validity before its expiry date. (Any change in your card details means you have to terminate and re-register for the service.)
  • Your Vehicle Number (What is it??? Duh!!!! That number on your carplate!)
  • The 10-digit IU number (usually there'll be a sticker
  • ID of the Registered Vehicle Owner
Your vehicle MUST have an IU installed at all times. All locally-registered cars come with one, so not too difficult, isn't it? Just make sure it is a WORKING IU, otherwise it's as good as not having one.

Registration is limited to 2 vehicles per registered user. If you have 10 cars at home, get your family members to help. If you are a boss of some bigshot company, get the authorized drivers' to register and claim from you when the bill comes. This kinda stuff dunnid me to teach la huh?

Next, you will need a Telemoney account for this service. If you already have a Telemoney account, you will need to log in to register your vehicle. So go to www.motorpay.com.sg to do that.

Instructions are all there. I'll leave that to you.

Bike owners can register for this service too la...but come on, our ERP charges are hardly ever more than $2 (that's considered expensive already). Usually it's what, 25cents? 50 cents? 


 Alternatively, if you're not gonna register for MotorPay for some reason, and you see an ERP gantry but cannot freaking find your cashcard, or your cashcard has insufficient funds, try to see if you have the new EZ-link card. If your car is a new car bought after early 2009, it should be using the new Dual-Mode IU, and can read CEPAS-compliant cards. The new EZ Link card is one such card.


See the ERP sign behind the card? Yeah, that means you can stick this card into the Dual-Mode IU and pass through ERP gantries. The gantries will just deduct value from the card.

So, sending your kid to school in the morning and you see an ERP gantry in the distance and your cashcard has insufficient value? Get your kid to pass you his EZ-link card (supposing it HAS sufficient value) and insert it into your IU. Hallelujah~ ^.^



Actually, any card with the CEPAS sign should work. ;) I think.


Okay, back to parking. I was talking about what huh? Oh okokok!!! EPS carparks! *scatterbrained*
Supposing it's not an EPS carpark, you'll need coupons. Yes, almost every white/yellow lot you see on the roads are HDB/URA parking lots. And they require you to tear coupons. (and then throw them out the door when one leg is outside the car while you're tearing the coupons. Admit it!!! LOL!!!)


White lots: 50 cents per half hour. Can be whole day, or from 7am to 10:30pm, or from 10:30am to 5pm. Look for the signboard which will usually be seen around these carparks.


Yellow lots: $1 per half hour. The most commonly seen in CBD areas. These yellow lots "become" white lots after 5pm and on Sundays and PHs, meaning parking becomes 50 cents per half hour. But please always check the signboard to double-confirm. 


Red lots: These lots are STRICTLY reserved for Season Parking Ticket holders. You park there without a valid SPT, you ho seh liao. Get prepared to be fined. Understood? 

Well unless you're parking in an EPS carpark. Carpark attendants don't really check those. Take your risk with the red lots. Kena don't come to me.

Season Parking tickets are for long-term parking at specific HDB carparks (i.e you stay there) so you don't have to display parking coupons. You just need to display the Season Parking Ticket disc, also known as the RFID tag, that is unique to yor vehicle.


Display this on your windscreen hor. Using some decal la.

How to apply for Season Parking?
Click here if it's the normal HDB coupon carpark. If it's the EPS carpark, click here.
(This is not the main point of my post la, so go and read it yourself okay.)

There's also such a thing as Family Season Parking Ticket okay. If you already have an SPT for your own residential carpark and want to get one for your Mum's place, you can do so at 50% off the usual price. If you visit family members, especially parents, a lot, even on Weekdays, do consider this as an alternative to tearing coupons.

Red and White (Bi-coloured) lots:  These lots are reserved for Season Parking Ticket holders between 7pm and 7am daily OR 7pm to 7am on Monday to Saturday and whole day on Sunday and Public Holidays. Reason? The residents staying there will come home after work right? Then if everyone parks there because they're there to makan (classic eg - Holland Village), the residents park where?

Yah you get my point. So non SPT holders, only park at these red n white lots between 7am to 7pm, Mondays to Saturdays. Sundays? Look for other coloured lots.


The whole point of this post actually was to share with you my discovery of the many types of coupons out there and stuff you may not know about coupon parking. But I've gone and shared with you all the other things above. Because I know there are drivers who are clueless about these things, and new drivers who may find the information useful.

I very helpful hor? You're welcome. 小事啦~ *waves hand casually*  ;)

Okay here comes my main point. LOL~!!! 
(在作文这叫严重离题...hahah~ You can also call this beating one huge round around the bush... *blush*)

Okay these are the most common ones you've seen right? The ones in 50-cent, $1, and $2 denominations. They come in booklets, and can easily be purchased at:
  • NTUC Fair Price
  • Singapore Post
  • Selected Petrol Kiosks
  • 7-Eleven
  • The URA Centre service counter
  • Any HDB Branch Office
  • Any appointed sales outlets

Have you seen these?
 They come in $3 and $4 denominations too!!!!
You use them like you would a normal coupon, just that you tear less of them, thus reducing the hassle of tearing many coupons. For the $4, this is a normal day coupon. 

Do not confuse it with the $4 night coupon:

If you want to stay overnight at your boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever friend/relative's house, display this. This is valid from 10:30pm to 7am the next morning. So yes, between that time, parking is capped at $4 for valid HDB overnight parking carparks, so don't go and tear like 17 of the 50c coupons (8.5 hours). 

Tip: If you think you're not going to wake up at 7am and leave, do place additional valid coupons from 7am onwards. If you forget/oversleep, be prepared to pay a $30 fine.
Yes, experience talk. I kena before... *mumble mumble*

Whether or not that carpark allows night parking, you can check the signboard at the entrance of the carpark.

There are carparks which don't allow night parking for non SPT holders. You will usually see this sign:
Coupon parking until 10:30pm.

Then comes the interesting discovery...did you know that White-Lot Parking (those you normally see at HDB areas, 50c per half hour kinda lots) is Capped at $10 per day?

Did you know??? I didn't know! 

So if you think you're going to be somewhere for a WHOLE day, like, even overnight, you don't need to put soooooooo many coupons for every hour you park! 

YOU JUST NEED ONE $10 COUPON FOR ONE ENTIRE DAY, UP TO 24 HOURS!

 The $10 coupon, and comes in light brownish colour.

OMG this is a discovery I think I should share with all you drivers out there.
 Yes, parking at white lots is capped at $10 per day, and is valid from 7am of that particular day to 7am the next day!

The $10 coupon is only valid for the specific day it was torn for, and includes overnight parking for that day, if the carpark allows Night Parking. Which means you don't need to tear an additional $4 overnight coupon once you've displayed the $10 one!

Okay example: You come to my house for a slumber party. (Not that I actually hold any of those.) You reach my place at, say, 10am today. So just tear one $10 coupon and display it on your dashboard. Neat. And then you decide you might stay until tomorrow 12noon. So on top of the $10 coupon, you'll tear an additional $5 worth of coupons for 7am till 12noon. (It's $1 per hour for white lots.) 

 Okay some coupon-tearing basics: You can tear them in running order. 
E.g using 50c coupons, you tear coupons for 7am, 7:30am, 8am, 8:30am and so on. 
OR 
You can tear them all starting from the same time. 
E.g tear all $5 worth of coupons starting from 7am.


How about parking in CBD areas where yellow lots are concerned? 

Use this - the $16.50 coupon. Yellow lots cost $2 per hour to park. If you've never known this before today, thank me for saving you money from excessive (unnecessary) coupon-tearing.

This one takes you anywhere, as long as it is a valid coupon parking lot, and works the same way as the $10 coupon. Travelling Singapore a lot today and not sure how long you'll stay at each location?  This one solves your parking woes.

There are $300 monthly coupons and $460 monthly coupons available too! (My jaw dropped with each discovery. Not sure if the same is happening to you.)

 This works just like the $10 coupon, except that it's valid for the entire month.

And this works like the $16.50 coupon, for one month.

Not sure who would need these, but I'm sure there will be, since such coupons exist. Delivery men? Or people doing sales? Maybe. Keep this in mind okay? ;)

Now, the common denomination coupons such as the 50c, $1, $2, $4 Overnight ones are easily available from the places mentioned earlier in the post. I'm not so sure about the $3 and $4 day coupons, they're not so common, but I'm sure some of these places do carry them.

For the Full Day coupons ($10 & $16.50) and Monthly coupons ($300 & $460), they can only be purchased from any HDB Branch Office or URA Centre.

Oh, and this is extra information: What to do if your unused coupons are expired? (2003-2008 but it's now 2011).

You can actually exchange expired/outdated parking coupons containing at least one segment of the tabs intact (with no folds or tears) for new coupons. Yup, don't need to throw away!!! I threw away quite a lot from my first car (found them many years later) before I came across this!
That said, a wrongly torn coupon can be exchanged too! Let's say it's 30 July 2011, but you accidentally tore the tab for 29 July 2011. As long as AT LEAST ONE SEGMENT OF THE TABS IS INTACT (hour, minute, month, day, etc), YOU CAN EXCHANGE THE COUPON FOR A NEW ONE!

The exchange can be done at any HDB Branch Office or the service counter at the URA Centre.

Keep that in mind okay?
Yeah, parking for cars are expensve, but I hope this write-up will help you save money on excessive unnecessarily-displayed coupons and/or paying fines. And knowing your parking's covered for an entire day, the stress from having to keep time and battle races with Fatimahs is greatly reduced to almost nil. 

I still prefer using my motorbike to commute though. Want to know how much motorbike coupon-parking costs?

Can see not?

Motorbike coupons cost 65c each. Bikes are exposed and anyone can steal our coupon, yes, but we write our Vehicle Numbers on the coupons. People can saboh and just steal the coupon la, but hey, just write appeal letter lor. I've only had a coupon stolen from my motorbike once in my (almost)1.5 years of riding.

And take a good look at our coupons - other than the Year, Month, and Date, there's only Day/Night. 

Yes, one coupon lasts us an entire day from 7am to 10:30pm, or an entire night from 10:30pm to 7am. Which translates to $1.30 per 24 hours. And we don't have yellow/white lots. Sure, there's the season parking red lots for bikes, and those lots we can't touch after 10:30pm. But if we're going to a CBD area, it'll cost us the same, not double, unlike CBD car yellow lots. That one single coupon can take me from Bt Batok to Choa Chu Kang to Woodlands to Orchard. It works almost like a $16.50 car coupon, except that overnight parking requires another 65c coupon. 

There really is no reason to get yourself a parking fine if you ride you know? 65c...come on...

I'll still drive when I have to, but...
Have I mentioned I love riding? 

Woohoo~~~


ThatBikerChick,
Silver Ang

Picture credits: www.hdb.gov.sg, ezlink.com.sg, and my fanpage. ;)

16 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, just passed tp this helped me a lot. just curious, thinking of buying a weekend car. What do I need? eg. Insurance and stuff. Thx if anyone can help me :))

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Anonymous, Weekend cars (WEC) are no longer available for new registration, so is the OPC (Off-peak Car) scheme. They've since implemented a new Revised OPC scheme.

    Cars under the revised OPC scheme enjoy unrestricted usage on Saturdays and eves of New Year, Lunar New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali and Christmas. However, the discount on the road tax is lower with the extended usage.

    You can go to this link to find out more --> http://www.lta.gov.sg/motoring_matters/motoring_vo_policynschemes_offpeak.htm

    ReplyDelete
  3. thx a lot Silver Ang!!! Really appreciate it :))

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey! I'm riding a red r15 as well!

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  5. Thank you so much! So much information Silver! Even though I'm living overseas (but still is a Singaporean)... I never knew parking in Singapore can be so complicated! Haha an eye opener. I also really appreciate it!

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  6. Hi Silver, can't wait for you to blog about riding(the dangers of it, what to expect from people and road users etc) and choosing a motorbike that suits you. Have been wanting to ride a R15 or CBR150 but chose Spark instead as its more convenient for ladies wearing skirt no?

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  7. Ehhh....How come parking got so chim one?

    I actually only everytime buy $10 worth of $0.50 coupon. I didnt even know $10 coupon exist!!!

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  8. Can't thank you enough.. Just gotten my license couple of weeks back and I'm lucky to have come across this post. Love this sentence of yours "There really is no reason to get yourself a parking fine if you ride you know? 65c...come on..." Which is definitely true! Thank you for all the information!

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  9. Extremely helpful for an Aussie who has just moved here. Thank you for making it easy to understand. It was a great help to have all your questions answered in one go.

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  10. Hi, I encountered a situation today. If I tear a $10 coupon at an URA/HDB carpark, and park till 6pm, den I drive to Amoy Street carpark (CBD Area), it's charges are 50¢ per half hour for night time. Do I need to tear extra coupon or can just use the $10 coupon

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    Replies
    1. I've never thought about that. I'll find out and get back to you.

      Delete
  11. Brilliant Information!
    Thank you.
    From a Brit who has just moved here and finding it all a bit confusing.

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  12. About time, no thank you to the one week headstart though!






    Motorbike Claim

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  13. I love singapore really everything suit me! really intersting blog! nice information provided!
    Steve Paul

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  14. Really appreciate for sharing this with us! You are my '师父', 请受徒儿一拜.

    ReplyDelete