Sunday 28 September 2014

Changi's T1 carpark closing to make way for Jewel

Motorists will have to park at T2 and take skytrain or shuttle bus to T1
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 27 Sep 2014

IT WILL soon be less convenient for drivers to park and get into Changi Airport's Terminal 1 (T1).

Drivers familiar with the terminal's open-air carpark with 850 spaces will find the area closed in the fourth quarter of this year to make way for the construction of Project Jewel.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) said at a press briefing yesterday that it has not set a date for the closure but it will test new parking arrangements from Oct 17 to 21 before the permanent closure.

Drivers will be directed to park at Terminal 2's (T2) Carpark 2B, which has 1,100 carpark spaces.

After dropping passengers off at T1's departure level, drivers will have to make a slight detour, including a U-turn, to get to this designated carpark.

They will then have to take the skytrain or board a free shuttle bus, which runs every five to 15 minutes, to T1. The shuttle bus trip takes about seven minutes.

This temporary carpark situation will last till 2018 when the $1.47 billion Jewel is completed. The largely retail complex will be built on the 3.5ha site where the open-air carpark is. It will have an underground carpark with 2,500 spaces and a link to terminals 1, 2 and 3, and Changi Airport MRT station.

CAG said that the occupancy rates of the existing T1 carpark hits 85 per cent during peak hours and is about half-full during off- peak hours. T1 served close to 18 million passengers last year.

CAG said that it was doing a number of things to avoid a parking crunch. This includes opening a new open-air carpark next to the JetQuay terminal on Oct 14 and adding more spaces in the T2 carparks. This will add 400 spaces in total.

It is understood that even with these new additions there will still be a shortfall of 400 spaces. Despite the decrease, CAG said it felt the number of spaces would be sufficient to cater to demand.

It will also free up even more spaces by discouraging drivers from parking their cars at the airport for extended periods of time. The 24-hour parking fee cap of $20 for cars parked at the airport will be removed. Drivers will have to pay $57.60 for full-day parking.

"We have about 500 to 600 (drivers) who park and leave their cars overnight at the airport, (sometimes) for weeks or days," said Mr Lim Ming Koon, vice-president of CAG's T1 expansion programme. He added that these drivers accounted for only 2 per cent of daily carpark users but occupied 20 per cent of the space.

Motorists said they hoped the new parking plans would not be overly confusing.

"If there are proper signs to inform motorists where the alternative parking and proper lanes are before they get to the airport, I don't think there will be a problem," said housewife Mona See, 55.

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