Parking to be a pricey proposition for B'loreans
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) may have failed to rein in the high and mighty and collect dues from them, but it is set to burn a hole in the pocket of common man by collecting hefty parking fees.
The Palike Council’s decision in this regard on Wednesday may create areas where ordinary people cannot dream of visiting in their private vehicles. Dividing the Central Business District into three packages of A, B and C, the Palike intends to charge exorbitant parking fee on an hourly basis. A person, for instance, parking his car on M G Road or Brigade Road for at least four hours will shell out Rs 120 if the scheme is implemented in toto. A biker will have to shell out Rs 60 on the same stretch for parking for four hours.
Palike officials defend the move. A senior Palike officer said hefty parking fee was necessary to discourage people from using private vehicles in view of the increasing vehicular population on the road, which leads to regular traffic bottlenecks.
BBMP is drawing criticism from various sections of people, because metro rail, which could be a quick means of local transport, has missed many deadlines due to its snail’s pace of infrastructure building. Also, the Palike failed to implement its building byelaws mandating parking space in the basements of commercial buildings.
Traffic expert M N Sreehari called the parking policy flawed. He said, “Roads and footpaths are meant for travelling and not for parking vehicles and thereby collect parking fees. The capacity of a road will be reduced by one-thirds to two-thirds if parking is permitted. It will lead to congestion, delays, and sometimes accidents also.”
He charged the BBMP with providing inadequate parking space which has led to parking vehicles on roads. He asked the BBMP to serve notices to all the buildings which violate parking norms and convert parking space into a bedroom or some office, thereby compelling people to park their vehicles on roads.
He advised a proper parking policy, where a multi-level car parking can be promoted.
“Let the Palike construct more multi-level car parking and get revenue out of it. In Delhi, there are parking space below the parks such as Connaught Place. In Bangalore, BDA and BBMP can utilise their parks to create parking space beneath,” said Sreehari.
He accused the policymakers of meddling with the building plan and converting parking lots into malls or commercial spaces.
B M Shivakumar, an RTI activist, said, “People who visit the prime locations do not go there to make merry. They could be hawkers or delivery or courier boys who go to such places to eke out a living. Such classification and hefty parking fees are unjust.”
V N Rajashekar of Save Bangalore Committee said, “Far from revenue enhancement, this measure is only likely to favour the contractor lobby. They are neither providing any protection nor owning up responsibility in case of theft of vehicles. The BBMP’s move is unjustified and unfair.”
Voice in support
However, Kathyayini Chamaraj of Civic Bangalore welcomed the move. “It is a good incentive to use public transport and this is the correct measure to decongest our roads.
All kind of schemes have been devised to widen roads, build grade separators and other road infrastructure, which are very resource-intensive projects for BBMP. But this measure will decongest roads and bring revenue to the civic body without it having to invest in infrastructure,” said Chamaraj.
Batting for the parking fee, she said, “When people readily pay in shopping malls, they shouldn’t have a problem in paying the parking fee.” She, however, opined that the bus fares should be cheaper. “BMTC should introduce some feeder services and improve the bus routing system. Frequent, reliable feeder service for the last-mile connectivity. There should be an integrated ticketing system involving the BMTC and metro rail from the feeder service to the trunk service and the metro rail. Integrated ticketing system should be affordable and cheaper than going by private vehicle. For disabled, there should be some concession,” said Chamaraj.