The Smart Nation initiative has done it again – we now have a mobile app that lets us pay for our parking fees with our phones. Officially launched in October, the app provides cashless payment options at carparks with no electronic gantries, supplementing existing physical paper parking coupons.
What does this mean for the regular motorist? Does the Parking.sg app have any advantages over traditional parking coupons? We tried it and found that it can save you both time and money.
The app has a fairly simple and straightforward user interface. You first indicate the carpark you’re in by keying in the carpark code, which is displayed on signs throughout the carpark. Next, key in your vehicle number, and lastly, your desired parking duration. The parking fee will be automatically calculated, which you will pay for using your credit or debit card.
The app does helps drivers save time in a few ways: you no longer need to hunt for the nearest shop that sells coupons when you inevitably run out of coupons, you don’t have to keep a stack of coupons lying around your car, and the fact that the app automatically calculates your parking fees means that you no longer have to do mental sums every time you park.
That’s a win in our book!
You Pay for What You Need
Using the Parking.sg app also helps you save money. You pay for you parking on a per-minute basis. If you park for 15 minutes, you pay for 15 minutes. For example, if you set a 30-minute parking session, only to realise you only needed 15 minutes, simply end the session early and you will get a refund for the unused balance on your parking session.
With traditional parking coupons, even if you end your parking session earlier, you do not get to pay less. There is also the “better safe than sorry” element, where responsible motorists will cater for an additional buffer to avoid the risk of the coupon expiring. Using the app eliminates this sort of waste.
Fair Warning and Remote Extension
Most drivers would have the experience of dashing back to their cars to display another parking coupon on the dashboard. Either that or they take a chance on their expired parking coupons, hoping that the “summon” auntie or uncle does not come by.
With the app, you can track your parking session, and you will receive a notification when your parking session is about to expire. If you want to extend your parking session, you can do so via the app, at your own time and convenience.
Even with Singaporeans’ promising adoption of cashless payments thus far, response to Parking.sg remains rather lukewarm for the moment, possibly due to a lack of strong marketing and promotional efforts. Concerns have also been raised regarding the inclusiveness of this app, as well as network issues.
The elderly, non-smartphone users or less technologically-inclined people will not use the app, continuing instead to use traditional parking coupons. This may become problematic when the Land Transport Authority decides to phase out paper parking coupons altogether. Alternatives are being explored to cater to motorists without a smartphone or data plan, but what these alternatives are remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, for those who are willing to use it, the Parking.sg app provides a clear value proposition that saves you both time and money, compared to traditional parking coupons. It is available on both Android and iOS app stores.