The National Parks Board (Nparks) will now charge for parking at 12 popular parks throughout the island (list below), which has outraged Singaporeans who feel they are slowly being squeezed out of cheap, recreational spots in Singapore.
Nparks will be rolling out an automated fee system at 18 carparks in 12 parks starting from this month.
• East Coast Park
• Pasir Ris Park
• West Coast Park
• Changi Beach Park
• Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
• Woodlands Waterfront Park
• Admiralty Park
• Bedok Reservoir Park
• Choa Chu Kang Park
• Dairy Farm Nature Park
• Labrador Nature Reserve
• Springleaf Park
According to Nparks, the charges are meant to prevent abuse of the car parks.
"In recent years, NParks has been receiving complaints on the constant misuse of parking spaces in the above parks, where parking spaces were taken up for extended periods of time by non-park users," NParks director of parks Chia Seng Jiang said.
The new system is already in place at East Coast Park, where users said they are now charged $1 an hour, at all times of the day.
Some Singaporeans have expressed concern that the new charges could discourage people, especially the elderly and handicapped, from visiting the parks regularly.
Madam Jessy Leow, 70, who visits East Coast Park with her 70-year-old husband at 6am every day, suggested that the authorities could look into giving a grace period during the early morning hours.
"At night, I agree that the carparks are very packed, but in the morning, there's hardly anyone there as most of the shops don't open until around 11am," she said.
Madam Leow, who has arthritis and gout, also added that taking public transport to the park is very inconvenient for elderly folk such as herself.
Others suggested that NParks could have looked into more effective ways to prevent abuse of the parking spaces.
For instance, it could have tried to find out which timings were more prone to misuse.