Beijing to increase parking fees

By Zhang Chunmei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-10 06:48

Beijing authorities are considering increasing parking fees in busy areas to discourage people from driving and to clear up key arterial roads.

Among those areas likely to be targeted are busy commercial districts like the CBD and Zhongguancun, and congested areas like Yansha and Beijing Western Station, according to the Beijing municipal development and reform commission.

An official surnamed Wang with the Beijing municipal bureau of transportation's parking administration said the price increases could push people towards using public transportation.

"If we build more roads and more parking places, it just stimulates people to buy more cars," Wang said.

"Increasing parking fees should encourage more people go out by public means of transport instead of using private cars."

Parking fees in the busiest areas are 2.5 yuan per half hour for small cars and 5 yuan per half hour for large vehicles, about 3 yuan more than other areas.

Yue Zhongqiang, a CPPCC National Committee member, said increasing the fee would improve traffic flows and save motorists time finding a parking spot.

"But around major public places, like stations, we have to consider affordability for citizens."

In addition, the higher roadside parking fees could encourage the use of underground parking lots, according to the commission.

Beijing announced last year that 26 free or low-cost large-scale parking lots would be built near subway and bus stops to encourage drivers to use public transport in downtown Beijing.

Parking fees near major subway stations and bus terminals on the city's outskirts are to be lowered to encourage people to park their cars there and then travel to urban areas by public transportation, according to the commission.

The new fee rates will be released after further consultation.

Zhao Fengtong, vice-mayor of the Beijing municipal government, said early this year that Beijing had 940,000 parking spaces but still needed another 400,000.

(China Daily 07/10/2007 page4)

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