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Proposed parking fee jump worries Shenzhen drivers
By Zheng Caixiong and Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-08 05:39

As if skyrocketing oil prices weren't enough of a damper on car-owning enthusiasm, Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong Province, is contemplating a dramatic hike in parking fees.

The Shenzhen Traffic Police Department under the municipal Public Security Bureau has submitted a proposal to the municipal Price Bureau in which charges for public parking will have "a differentiated pricing structure."

For Class A locations, such as downtown areas, ports, railway stations and scenic spots, fees may rise to 21 yuan (US$2.60) for three hours. This represents an increase of 320 per cent. Citywide, charges for parking will surge 130 per cent on average.

That means an additional 694 yuan (US$85.57) per month for an average car owner in Shenzhen, on top of the current 534 yuan (US$ 65.84) in parking expenses.

The local people's congress will hold a public hearing on the matter on September 15. The increase, if passed by the legislature, will also mean that car owners will spend roughly half of their monthly "maintenance cost" on parking. Currently, the average car owner spends 1,950 yuan (US$240) a month to use their car in the city, including petrol, parking and tolls.

The purpose is not to discourage local residents from buying cars, said one official from the traffic police department.

"We are trying to steer the market in a healthier direction," he said. The price regulation will help develop "an advanced public transport network" before more private cars fill the streets.
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