Higher parking charges a good step towards going car-lite

I agree with National Development Minister Lawrence Wong that free parking is not really free, as it is a subsidy to motorists, paid for by non-motorists ("Stepping up car-lite strategy a boost for cyclists, pedestrians"; April 12).

He was also right to point out that it is time to raise parking charges to make Singapore car-lite.

The cost of parking has ceased to influence most decisions about whether to own a car.

However, it costs a lot of money to build carparks and to offer low or zero parking charges.

Low or zero parking charges can also create congestion and chaos at carparks near eateries or malls, and at residential carparks, when visiting cars take the spaces of season-parking ticket holders.

Parking is a service which motorists use, and it is only fair that they pay for it.

Having to pay for parking will also encourage more people to carpool and use public transport.

The extra revenue from increased parking charges will help to finance neighbourhood public improvements.

In the long term, it will be better to set charges according to supply and demand for parking spaces.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'Higher parking charges a good step towards going car-lite'. Print Edition | Subscribe