SINGAPORE - Delivery drivers taking groceries and essentials to households can count on longer periods of free parking in Housing Board estates starting this Sunday (May 23).
The extension of grace parking period from 10 to 20 minutes at Housing and Development Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority carparks was announced by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee in a Facebook post on Friday.
In the post, Mr Lee noted that the demand for deliveries has spiked as more people stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
He said: "The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone. With the current heightened alert measures, more businesses have been hit and it is important that we continue supporting each other to emerge stronger."
Mr Lee added that the grace period extensions will give delivery drivers and riders more time to park their vehicles and make their deliveries.
A similar grace period extension was put in place from April to June last year as more Singaporeans turned to online shopping for food and groceries during the circuit breaker period.
Responding to a parliamentary question last year, Mr Lee said the proportion of people using the carparks for less than 20 minutes largely reverted to pre-circuit breaker levels after the extension period, where a 10-minute grace period was generally sufficient for motorists to conduct pick-up or drop-off activities.
Malls, including Suntec City, City Square Mall and those under CapitaLand Malls and Frasers Property, have also extended the grace periods at their carparks to 30 minutes.
In a press conference on Friday, Transport Minister S. Iswaran noted that many drivers have taken on additional jobs such as delivery jobs to supplement their income during the current period.
"We expect the demand for such delivery services to increase during this phase of heightened alert since dining in is now not allowed. So it is very likely that delivery of food services is going to become even more important," he said.
Mr Iswaran added that the extension would help reduce parking costs for delivery riders and drivers.
He added: "I urge all other mall operators and private sector partners to do the same, so that we can support our community of drivers."
In his Facebook post on Friday, Mr Lee also said that Enterprise Singapore will be extending the waiver of season parking for private bus season parking holders at all government-owned carparks.
Under this initiative, a six-month waiver of season parking fees was first provided to private bus and coach season parking holders from May 1 to Oct 31 last year. The waiver was then extended, first till March 31 and then again until June 30 this year.