Mobile parking app on trial; could replace parking coupons

This app will allow motorists to key in their vehicle number, select the carpark and how long they intend to park.
This app will allow motorists to key in their vehicle number, select the carpark and how long they intend to park.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The days of scrambling to place an extra coupon on your car to avoid the "summons auntie" could soon be numbered.The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Housing Board (HDB) - together with the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) - announced yesterday that they are developing a parking app to act as "a transition step and provide important learning points" before the move to the next-generation Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system.

The new satellite-based ERP system - expected to be introduced in 2020 - will help facilitate street-side parking charges, in addition to road charges.

The new app will calculate how much motorists have to pay based on the carpark selected and their estimated parking duration, on a per minute basis.

Motorists who end their parking session earlier will be refunded. Parking attendants will be able to use the vehicle's number plate to check whether a motorist has paid and if the parking session is still valid.

"The mobile app will provide more convenience for motorists as they need not return to their vehicles to add more coupons to extend their parking session," the three Government bodies told The Straits Times in a joint reply.

A trial to test the "robustness" of the app will be conducted among public sector officers at 84 selected public carparks in the city, in areas such as Fort Canning and Tanjong Pagar between May and June this year (2017).

The trial is expected to be extended to members of the public later this year (2017).

A similar app called ParkMobile is in use in the United States in more than 200 cities.

Teacher Syahidah Rahmat, 30, said of the app: "I always forget to buy parking coupons, so I think this is a good move."

First introduced in 1980, parking coupons are still in use at 1,150 car parks here.

In February (2017), Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said in Parliament that coupon parking would be phased out "eventually", noting that more than 70 per cent of public car parks now use the electronic parking system.