Singapore

Polytechnics to start charging staff for parking from October

All five polytechnics here will start charging staff for parking on their premises from October, according to Housing and Development Board (HDB) carpark rates.

This means season parking will be at $80 for surface lots and $110 for sheltered lots per month. The news follows the Institute of Technical Education's announcement on Thursday that all its staff will need to pay for parking, using the same HDB benchmark.

Currently, some of the polytechnics give their staff free or subsidised rates for parking.

The new parking rates are to comply with the Public Service's clean wage policy, following the Auditor-General's Office report two years ago which found that some educational institutions did not impose charges or imposed below market rate charges for use of their carparks.

Singapore Polytechnic's aeronautical engineering course chair, Mr Liew Hui Sing, who drives to work, said: "People who work in the public sector also have to pay for parking. We will just take this in our stride. We're also paying for the comfort of driving in our cars and parking on the premises."

With these changes, transport experts said teachers in public schools face the prospect of paying for parking in their school compounds soon.

Dr Lee Der Horng, a National University of Singapore transport researcher, said: "Since they have already implemented this to the polytechnics and ITE, it will be difficult to justify it if they do not include the other schools as well."

An MOE spokesman said yesterday that carpark charges for schools are being reviewed in accordance with civil service guidelines.

A primary school teacher, who declined to be named, said: "I hope we will not be charged since many of us are in the school for as long as 10 hours or more from 7am.

"Charging us for parking will mean higher expenses."

But others understood the rationale. Another primary school teacher said: "If you choose to drive in Singapore, you have to be prepared to pay the price. People from other companies have been doing it all this while, so we shouldn't complain."

Dr Walter Theseira, economist and senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, added: "Charging (for parking) also discourages driving, so that people try to find other transport options."

ITEPolytechnicParking