Parking fee reforms to start in Beijing
Beijing, a car-crazy city that has 2.4 million automobiles but nowhere near that many parking spaces, is expected to reform its parking fee rates this year.
Pricing departments are mulling over adjustments for both indoor and outdoor parking lots and plan to finalize a regulation on parking fees soon, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.
The current parking fees at indoor lots - most of which lie underground - are 2.5 times greater than outdoor lots.
As a result, many people would rather drive round and round to find a place to park than pull into relatively spacious underground lots.
"The price differences of outdoor and indoor lots are unreasonable. A number of cars driving around and looking for parking spots worsens traffic congestion," said Wang Yan, a commission official who is in charge of fee collections.
Wang told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday that his commission and related departments are considering the price adjustments, as well as diversifying rates, in order to balance use of indoor and outdoor lots.
In addition, officials said, parking fees at sports venues and theatres will also be changed. Massive numbers of cars pour into such places when performances are staged, which usually leads to serious traffic jams.
He said current parking rates measured by the hour are not suitable for these places at special times.
If a performance or a match lasts three hours, a car owner needs only to pay 6 yuan (73 US cents)since the parking rate is 2 yuan (24 US cents) per hour for outdoor parking lots. That charge hardly encourages people to take buses or other public transit means rather than driving private cars to venues.
Wang said in the future, car owners likely will have to pay relatively high parking fees instead of fees by the hour.
The upcoming parking reforms also include lots at residential estates where complaints of arbitrary charges are reported from time to time, said Wang.
In Beijing, private car owners need to pay 150 yuan to 400 yuan (US$18-US$48) per month for parking in their residential communities. An additional administrative fee of 50 yuan (US$6) is also required every month. Many people complain that property management companies only collect money but do not keep an eye on their cars nor provide enough services.
Wang said his commission is investigating the parking charges at 100 residential communities and will work out a regulation on parking fees collecting at residential estates within this year.