Rise in parking rates draws mixed reactions from students

By Xu Qi Yang and Syed Md. Faris

PHOTO: YEO WEI LUN

Hikes in parking rates across campus carparks have drawn mixed reactions from regular student drivers. While some are unhappy with the extra charge, others feel it is affordable, and a few have even welcomed it.

As of 1 Jul, parking rates in campus carparks have increased between $0.30 to $1.02 per hour.

Motorists from Hall of Residences 10 to 14, graduate halls and faculty residential areas used to enjoy free parking. Now they are paying $1.02 per hour, with a cap at $4.30, or $25 a month for season parking.

Carparks in the North and South Spine region – which constitute Zone 1 – also saw a significant increase.  Season parking holders have to pay $90 a month, $15 more than before. Motorists going by the per minute charge now need to pay two dollars an hour – $0.40 more than before – for a spot in these carparks.

Some students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to were unhappy with the increase.

Third-year School of Social Sciences student Jamie Lai said: “It definitely isn’t friendly to the wallet, especially when you’re a student without a disposable income.”

The 21-year-old, who drives to school thrice a week, was shocked to discover that the cap price for her usual parking spot at Nanyang Lake had risen by $0.70.

Third-year School of Biological Sciences (SBS) student Sian Chan said the increase would add to her monthly expenditure.

“I have to clock in more hours at my part-time job and go home later to pay for this,” said the 23-year-old, who drives to school four times a week.

Nevertheless, both Lai and Chan said they will continue driving to school as doing so affords them time and convenience.

Said Lai: “I live in the east, so coming to school by public transport means that I have to spend two hours travelling each morning. Driving requires only half the time, which means I can sleep in more in the mornings.”

In an email sent to season parking holders on 3 May, NTU’s Chief Housing and Auxiliary Services (HAS) officer Jimmy Lee said the rise in parking rates was due to an increased demand for prime parking areas on campus.

“These (new) rates are based on demand and supply, such that a motorist pays more to park in a prime area and less in non-prime areas,” said Mr Lee. He added that the last carpark revision was in 2012.

Other students, however, approved of having parking charges in carparks at their halls.

“Carparks that previously offered free parking were always full. The higher prices discourage people from parking now, so it will be easier to find a parking space,said second-year School of Computer Science and Engineering student Lim Hong Yee, 22, who usually parks at Hall of Residence 14.

Nevertheless, some believe the revised rates remain affordable.

Third-year MAE student Sean Chong has been driving to school daily for the past two years. He now pays $40 per month for season parking at Zone 2b, $5 more than what he paid previously.

Said the 23-year-old: “$40 is still considered really cheap for season parking compared to parking rates outside of NTU.”