Thursday, June 17, 2004

First metered parking system in India

Reproduced from the Deccan Herald, I for one am skeptical about its success.

Start the parking meter and return in 30 mins

The first metered parking system in India has just been introduced on Brigade Road. Its success however depends on acceptability.

Brigade Road is a shopper’s paradise, but finding parking space can be a nightmare, thanks to people who park their vehicles for long durations while they shop, watch a movie or simply hang around.

Owners of shops, hotels and business establishments on this street, felt they were losing out on genuine customers who couldn’t find space for their vehicles. Members of the Brigade Road Shops and Establishments Owners’ Association had requested the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike three years ago to solve the problem and systematise parking on Brigade Road. However, nothing came of it. So, the members put their heads together to find a solution, noted association Secretary Suhail Yusuf.

They discussed the problem, chalked out a blue print of their plan to solve it, submitted it to the BMP, which gave its consent. Result? The first ever metered parking system in India.

Eight machines, each costing Rs six lakh, were purchased from Smart Parking Company of France and placed on one side of the pavement on Brigade Road. You can park your car only for half-an-hour for a fee of Rs five. Once you park, get to the machine nearest to your car, insert a five rupee coin at the slot provided and type your car registration number. The machine prints out a small slip with details including the time when you will be required to remove your car.

If you fail to remove your vehicle at the time mentioned, the meter sets off an alarm with the car number. If you fail to heed it, the ‘tiger’ will tow it away. If you wish to spend more time in the area, you will have to park on the opposite side of the street by paying an extra Rs 20.

The Association has spent Rs 50 lakh for this new system, the members said. Mr Yusuf said, “Some of us ho have seen such a system during our travels abroad, felt it would be well worth experimenting in our city too. We discussed the idea and are happy to have the support of all shop owners on Brigade Road.”

On the flip side, the new system will mean parking only for four-wheelers, not two-wheelers, and only for those in a hurry. And questions about alternatives to two-wheeler riders and how middle class families will cope with the hike in parking fees are yet to be answered.



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