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VISITORS who drive to Changi Airport's Terminals 1 and 2 will soon have to bear with some parking inconveniences as work begins on the revamp that will create the Jewel.
Changi Airport Group (CAG) said on Friday that the T1 3.5 hectare carpark site will be redeveloped, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2014, to make way for Project Jewel - a multi-use complex announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech in 2013 - as well as the expansion of T1.
Those who drive to T1 in the last three months of this year will no longer be able to park at the terminal's existing open-air carpark. To cater for the closure, one of the two existing T2 carparks, carpark 2B, will be designated for use by T1 visitors. Located at the north-end of T2, this carpark with 1,100 parking lots will be renamed the T1 carpark when the relocation takes effect.
Although CAG confirmed that the relocation will take place in the last quarter of the year, it could not provide a specific date for now as it was still finalising several details, including evaluating construction tenders.
With this change, T2 users will continue to be served by the other carpark at the terminal, currently known as carpark 2A, which will be renamed the T2 carpark when the changes take effect. This carpark has 1,300 parking lots.
CAG explained that the two existing T2 carparks is expected to be adequate for both terminals. This projection is based on the existing utilisation rate of the T1 carpark of 85 per cent during peak hours and 50-60 per cent during off-peak hours.
However, CAG will also take other measures to improve capacity at both the existing T2 carparks by raising the supply of parking spaces and managing demand for extended parking. For one, new parking spaces have been created at various locations across the airport, including a new South carpark, located near the entrance to the JetQuay terminal, which will open for use at 2am on Oct 14.
This open-air carpark with about 230 parking lots, is a five-minute walk to T2. Due to its further distance away from the airport, the South carpark will offer a lower parking rate of 3.5 cents per minute, compared to 4 cents per minute at the main terminal carparks, at a cap of S$35 per 24 hours of parking.
Secondly, Changi Airport will also provide a free valet parking service at the new T1 carpark during peak hours on weekends and public holidays, which will help increase efficient use of the parking capacity as well as help improve the visitor experience to T1.
However, with the increasing passenger traffic, CAG explained that it also needs to manage demand for extended parking to ensure sufficient parking spaces to serve the growing number of airport users - the majority of whom are parking short-term picking up and sending off passengers throughout the day. At present, long-term parkers at the airport - those who park beyond 24 hours and some even for days in a row - at 2 per cent constitute a small proportion of carpark users at Changi Airport. However, they account for a substantial 20 per cent of the airport's overall parking utilization on an average day.
"That means one of out of every five cars you see parked at the airport have been there for more than 24 hours," a CAG spokesman revealed at a media briefing on Friday.
To moderate this demand and to provide more space to the vast majority of 98 per cent of carpark users who are only there for a short period, CAG will lift the existing cap of S$20 on the daily parking charge at the main terminal carparks from Oct 14. Based on the per-minute rate of 4 cents, which remains unchanged, the fee for 24-hour parking at these main terminal carparks will come up to S$57.60.
CAG pointed out that with these changes, visitors who would still like to park for an extended period at the airport may wish to conside the South carpark as a cheaper alternative. Nevertheless, the CAG encourages passengers to take public transport, including taxis, or get a lift from their family or friends when travelling, to better manage demand for extended hours parking.
The closure of the current T1 carpark will also affect the location of the arrival pick-up point for private cars, which will be moved to a site just outside of the T1 Arrival Hall, on the same level. There will be no change however to the departure drop-off point for private cars and taxis, as well as the passenger boarding point for taxis at T1.
With the relocation of the T1 carpark to T2, CAG has taken efforts for visitors to move more conveniently between both terminals as it will introduce a free shuttle bus service, in addition to the existing Skytrain service, to connect between T1 and T2. The shuttle will run from 10am - 5am (next day) daily, at regular intervals ranging between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the time of the day.
CAG will conduct a full-scale dry-run of these changes from 2am Oct 17 to 2am Oct 21 to ensure their effective implementation. It will also be providing road signage and lane markings along the roadways leading to and within Changi Airport to guide drivers to the appropriate carparks.
Once ready in 2018, the Project Jewel complex, jointly developed by CAG and CapitaMalls Asia, will include a basement carpark, which will add about 2,500 parking spaces at Changi Airport - three times the capacity of the current open-air T1 carpark.