October 12, 2012

Motorists undeterred by parking fee hike

Several motorists have said that they will continue to brave the city’s congested streets, vowing to pay more when parking fees go up instead of taking public transportation.

In September, then governor Fauzi Bowo signed a decree to increase off-street parking fees for cars from Rp 2,000 (21 US cents) to Rp 4,000 to a maximum of Rp 5,000 and to impose hourly parking rates of Rp 1,000 to Rp 2,000 for motorcycles.

The new fees will apply to parking operators in shopping centers, hotels, office buildings and apartments.

This is the first time the city administration has raised parking fees in the past eight years. The policy is aimed at reducing traffic and increasing tax revenue. Beijing applied a similar policy in 2011, raising its off-street parking fees for cars to 8 yuan (about $1.20).

Transportation observers and motorists alike said that they doubted the measure would make much difference.

Darmaningtyas of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) said that people would still use their own vehicles, despite the hike, given the current condition of public transportation.

“Transjakarta, for example, as the best form of public transportation available now, has an insufficient fleet to accommodate so many people and has lanes that are not free from other vehicles, making them subject to congestion,” he said.

Darmaningtyas said that the policy would not be effective until the city government raised on-street parking fees.

According to Jakarta Parking Management Unit chief Enrico Vermy, the administration was still drafting a regulation to make on-street parking fees more expensive than off-street parking.

“The new parking fees should reach up to Rp 8,000 for Zone A [commercial and office districts] and Rp 4,000 for Zone B [other areas] for cars,” Enrico said.

One commuter, Dyas, a resident of Pedurenan, South Jakarta, said that using Transjakarta would actually be a viable option for him to go to his office in Mangga Dua, North Jakarta, if only there were enough buses.

“I can be late if I have to wait for the untimely bus to come, and using a motorcycle makes it easier to pass through congestion,” Dyas said. 
The 22-year-old added that he previously paid only Rp 2,500 to park his motorcycle from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, but now he had to pay Rp 1,000 an hour.

Syamsuddin, an employee of an insurance company on Jl. Sudirman, also chose to keep driving his car to the office.

The 33-year-old said that he hated lining up for a bus to come every morning, adding that it took the same amount of time to ride a bus as it did to get through Jakarta’s streets by cars.

“I work in an office which obliges me to look neat and clean every day. I don’t want to show up in the office looking worn-out and full of sweat after jostling in a bus,” he said.

Syamsuddin said that he would consider using public transportation if there were more buses and if the service and the security were improved by adding air-conditioned coaches that were free of pickpockets, beggars and street musicians.

The new off-street parking fees policy comes with a mandate to improve the service under the gubernatorial decree.

Handaka Santosa, head of the Indonesian Association of Shopping Centers (APPBI), said that the APPBI had long applied the spirit of the policy, which was also contained in an earlier regulation, and would cooperate with insurance companies to implement the regulation.

“It’s not a new thing for us. We have provided insurance for customer parking in our building and we will pay for the losses, damages and theft after checking it on CCTV,” Handaka said.

Customers, however, are not easily tempted by the compensation and doubt that the insurance will actually work.

“I don’t think the insurance offered as compensation for the hike will work. Most of the time, I have to wrangle with the parking lot management employees and end up bearing all the loss,” Dyas said.



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