20-minute tea break comes with bitter aftertaste as driver hit with $116 parking fee in Jurong East

When Mr Fang was leaving the carpark. the gantry screen displayed a $116 parking fee.
When Mr Fang was leaving the carpark. the gantry screen displayed a $116 parking fee.PHOTO: STOMP
The board displaying parking charges at block 252.
The board displaying parking charges at block 252.PHOTO: STOMP

SINGAPORE - A 20-minute afternoon tea break came with a bitter aftertaste for a driver who was slapped with a $116 parking fee at a Jurong East carpark.

The 61-year-old technician, named as Mr Fang by Shin Min Daily News, had parked his car at an open-air HDB carpark at Block 252, Jurong East Street 24, at about 5.15pm on Jan 2.

Twenty minutes later, he returned from an afternoon tea break and tried leaving the carpark, but was shocked to see a $116 fee on the carpark gantry display.

"I was very shocked after seeing the parking charges," he told Shin Min Daily News. "I didn't have enough value in my cashcard so I was extremely worried."

Another driver lent Mr Fang his cashcard so he could exit the carpark, but an error in the system meant that the gantry did not open, the Shin Min report on Wednesday (Jan 6) said.

Mr Fang said that there were at least 10 to 12 cars behind him, and some of the drivers came down to see what had happened.

He felt "very embarrassed", he told Shin Min.

According to Stomp, he made a complaint on the intercom. But it was another 20 minutes before he was finally able to leave the carpark, the Shin Min report said.

However, while he was not charged the full $116, the incident may have led to some deduction from his cashcard, Mr Fang claimed.

He was feeling nervous and didn't check on the spot if his cashcard had been deducted while leaving the carpark. He said that after making a transaction with the card later, he realised that its value had dropped to 50 cents, despite having about $50 before the incident.

In a separate incident, which appears to have taken place in October last year, a driver was asked to pay $3,513.50 after parking at Bukit Batok Industrial Park for less than 30 minutes.

"Went to the kopitiam to have breakfast with my wife. The total time we took was less than 30 minutes, but the system was faulty," he was quoted as saying by citizen journalism website Stomp on Wednesday (Jan 6).

The gantry display claimed that he had parked for three hours and 14 minutes.

"I could not exit until the security guard came," he added. "When he came, we both laughed together and eventually he opened the barrier to let me pass."

The report did not say when the incident took place but a photograph of the fee showed the date was from October last year.