Fortunes reverse at parking lots

Open spaces: A private parking lot near the CIQ complex with a few cars parked, including cars that have been abandoned since March.

JOHOR BARU: It’s strange but true. Parking space is now available in parts of this bustling city.

Private parking lots that were previously filled with vehicles of those working in Singapore are now left vacant since the closure of the border with Singapore.

A check at several private parking lots near the usually busy Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at Sultan Iskandar building (BSI) showed a significant drop in the number of cars and motorcycles parked there.

“Previously, we would get at least 100 cars in just one day. Sometimes, the number could go up to 300 cars, ” said a man who was manning a private park lot.

Identifying himself as Leong, he said there had been fewer than 20 cars a day since the closure of the border in March.

“Sometimes, we hardly get 10 cars in one day, ” he said.

Furthermore, he said some cars had been “abandoned” at these parking areas as their owners are “stranded” in Singapore.

“Previously, there were dozens of cars abandoned here but now the number has gone down to only four. That’s because the family members of these car owners have since taken the car away.

“The four cars that are still here have been around for more than 200 days, ” he said.

He said the owner of the parking lot has also reduced the parking fee from RM15 to RM5 a day.

“As for motorcycles, we have about 30 of them that have been sitting here since March, ” he said, adding that the parking lot could accommodate up to 300 motorcycles.

A caretaker of another private parking area, who declined to be named, said there were previously close to 100 cars that were abandoned since the closure of the border.

“Most of the cars have been taken by family members of the owners.

“They need to show us a copy of the ticket issued during the entry of the vehicle or at least a photo of it before we allow them to remove the car, ” he said.

He said the number of cars entering the private parking area used to be in the hundreds but it has since dropped to an average of 10 to 20 cars a day.

“However, parking lots in the middle of the city are still getting the average number of vehicles on a daily basis, ” he said.

Business owner L. Veeranthiran, 47, who owns a shop in the town centre, said local enforcement officers have been seen frequently towing away cars parked at illegal areas.

“We have not seen abandoned cars parked around town as the Johor Baru City Council has been towing such cars, ” he said.

“They have been actively doing so from morning until about 6pm.”

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