I’m not sure if I should spill the beans or should I just let you guys read the letter first. So, the easiest thing is to let you guys read it for yourself and when you are ready to look at all the self-pwning statements, you can continue to click to read more. =)

First, the original complaint letter.

Insert graciousness into URA’s grace period

RECENTLY, I was taught the realities of official graciousness by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). On April 23, in response to a request by Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for blood platelets, I went to the hospital about 11am. To my chagrin, my usual EPS (ERP Payment System) Carpark H was undergoing some work, and the other carparks were full.

After circling for a while, I was lucky to get a lot in Carpark B, a coupon carpark farthest from my destination.

The donation was not routine either, through no fault of SGH staff. For the first time in my donation record, there was a hitch and I was stuck with tubes in my arm. I was in no position to return to my car to display fresh coupons.

I was hesitant to ask SGH staff to help with my parking situation, for I knew I should not take them away from� more important matters. At the end of my donation, two machines later, I asked for an SGH excuse chit, and went on my way.

I did get a parking ticket, and wrote in to appeal. My friends and I were confident the URA would let me off.

A $10 fine is not a large sum, but I hoped for some graciousness. Last Thursday, the URA wrote to tell me I had exceeded the ‘grace period’ and had to pay up within the next seven days.

What is a ‘grace period’, I ask, for a person tied up in tubes, or for a dialysis patient hooked to a malfunctioning machine?

Is the ‘grace period’ different in different circumstances? What is the grace period for someone who parked his car, dove into traffic to save a child, and slipped into a coma for a week? Are the grace periods all the same?

I have paid my fine, to avoid this being seen as just of self-interest, but would like to hear the URA’s point of view, or what graciousness it can show.

Tan Tatt Si

Now, the reply from URA.

Grace period given, but one hour is too long

I REFER to last Wednesday’s letter, ‘Insert graciousness into URA’s grace period’ by Mr Tan Tatt Si.

Mr Tan said he parked his car at Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Carpark B when he went to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on April 23 to donate blood platelets. He said he was delayed in the donation process and was fined $10 for overparking. He felt URA should be gracious and waive his fine.

We appreciate that Mr Tan is a blood platelet donor. This is admirable. In reviewing appeals for waivers of parking fines from motorists, however, URA takes other factors into consideration, besides the fact that the motorist is a blood donor.

First, URA is sympathetic to motorists using this carpark. We understand motorists visiting SGH may be delayed for reasons beyond their control. URA gives a considerable grace period in this carpark to allow motorists to return to their vehicles to drive off or renew their coupons for extended periods of parking.

At the same time, we must ensure that motorists park responsibly, and comply with parking regulations so as not to inconvenience other motorists. We also have to verify any justifications furnished by motorists when reviewing their appeals.

In Mr Tan’s case, he had overparked for more than one hour, which far exceeded the usual grace period there.

We understand a hospital visit for blood platelet donation process normally takes two to three hours. This is made known to the public on SGH’s website and is known to regular donors. Mr Tan displayed a $1 parking coupon with a start time of 11.20am for a one hour parking duration. The carpark is a 10-minute walk from the haematology centre. Based on the record of his visit to the centre, Mr Tan arrived and registered at the centre at 11.15am and completed the process at 2pm.

A parking offence notice was issued to Mr Tan at 1.23pm, after the parking coupon displayed had expired for more than an hour.

In reviewing appeals from motorists for waivers of fines, URA also takes into account the track record of the motorist. If he has a number of parking offences, we tend to view the appeal less favourably. Taking in the circumstances of the case and Mr Tan’s track record, we could not accede to the appeal. Nonetheless, while the fine should be $20 for more than one hour of overparking, we factored in the grace period and fined him only $10.

Lim Eng Chong
Deputy Director (Land Administration, Carparks)
Urban Redevelopment Authority

In URA’s reply, they hinted that Mr Tan should have read up to find out how long the entire donation process will take. Shame on all you guys who tear a 1 hour coupon to plead ignorance. Don’t you know that you should read up the website and brochures that has been so conscientiously printed for you? However, what was "ultimate" was how they mentioned that the coupon that Mr Tan tore was timed at 11:20am while he registered at the center at 11:15am – after a 10 minute walk! This… is "ultimate".

Lastly, URA made special note that "in reviewing appeals from motorists for waivers of fines, URA also takes into account the track record of the motorist. If he has a number of parking offences, we tend to view the appeal less favourably". They went on to note that "taking in the circumstances of the case and Mr Tan’s track record, we could not accede to the appeal. Nonetheless, while the fine should be $20 for more than one hour of overparking, we factored in the grace period and fined him only $10". If what URA stated was the bare facts (and of course they are!), then Mr Tan has succeeded in self pwning himself.

I wonder if the parking attendants really record the coupon timing somewhere. It wasn’t something that I was aware of too.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 19th May 2008



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