Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pay ’n’ park? Some ayes and some nays

Pay ’n’ park? Some ayes and some nays
The Times of India

Bangalore: It’s been a year since the city was freed of the pay-and-park scheme. Many motorists especially women heaved a sigh of relief when it was scrapped. The sentiments echoed were so strong that the BJP who campaigned for its scrapping celebrated when it came to pass.

However, with BMP’s plans to reintroduce the scheme, motorists are a worried lot. To begin with, some of the apprehensions expressed by those who supported the system such as haphazard parking leading to blocked roads, thefts and even vandalism did not come true. Bangaloreans backed former mayor R Narayanaswamy’s call to use the parking spaces judiciously though unmonitored. Narayanaswamy, who spearheaded the move, says, “I used to receive hordes of complaints daily. People who needed to move around the city and park at different places found it too expensive. It’s not a people-friendly measure and that too for a meagre sum of Rs 4 crore.”

There were thoughts of bartering billboard space for parking management where billboard companies were to be given space to put up billboards in return for attendants to regulate parking at designated spots and the company would generate revenue from the billboards.

Those who are for pay-andpark feel it is needed to ensure orderly parking. Also, it is supposed to be a measure to discourage use of private vehicles and encourage use of public transport. Besides, it is supposed to ensure the safety of vehicles. But the fact remains there is no efficient public transport network in place. Moreover, parking tickets clearly state that the BMP is not responsible for the vehicle’s safety. This issue is more than just a financial matter. With a large number of people against it, political parties are wary of going against their sentiment. “People of Bangalore welcomed the move to scrap it. We will not allow it to come back,” says S Prakash, the city’s BJP spokesperson. “We will definitely oppose it. There are many ways to regulate parking without taxing the common man,” says M R Seetharam, MLA.

“Paid parking was an unpleasant experience. I don’t think Rs 4 crore is worth putting women motorists through such harassment,” says Divya Muthanna, an electronics engineer. Most believe that pay-and-park creates more problems than solutions. The issue can be resolved only by the introduction of the metro and planned parking complexes. Till then, it’s musical chairs in the city’s parking spaces.


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