China / Society

Beijing plans electronic collection of parking fees

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-26 07:26

Beijing plans to introduce electronic payment for roadside parking to regulate the market and collect all the fees it is owed, the Beijing municipal traffic authority said.

The capital has more than 40,000 parking spaces, which should have generated more than 300 million yuan ($48 million) last year for the government.

However, less than half of the fees collected by companies has been turned in as government revenue in a number of major cities including Beijing, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Some companies use high labor costs as an excuse to reject government collection, it said.

"The difficulties in parking fees collection lie in the way that drivers pay cash directly to the collectors," said Zhou Zhengyu, head of the Beijing Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.

In many cases, drivers prefer to pay less after bargaining with collectors, which makes it hard for the authority to know the true amount of fees, Zhou added.

The Beijing People's Congress has initiated research on models of electronic payment, which would eliminate illegal bargaining and use modern technology through terminals or smartphones, Zhou said.

In 2010, Shenzhen, Guangzhou province, started allowing drivers to pay parking fees with their phones or through a special rechargeable parking card. When their time limit is about to expire, drivers will receive a text message reminding them.

Wang Limei, secretary-general of the China Road Transport Association, said the trend is toward adopting technologies to collect fees, although the current collectors have posed many obstacles in managing parking fees.

"But the government should make the apps on smartphones or other technologies for drivers as easy as possible," she said.

Liu Fuli, an independent traffic expert in Beijing, said it will be difficult to cover the capital's more than 5 million vehicles with the system.

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