China / Society

Female drivers in Sichuan get jumbo parking spaces

By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu ( Updated: 2015-08-04 19:53

Sichuan province has set up wider parking spaces for female drivers, a move that has garnered a positive response from both the drivers and Internet users.

Since the middle of July, drivers passing the Huaikou service area on the Chengdu-Nanchong expressway in Jintang county have been impressed with four special parking spaces.

"Each space has a pink image of a woman and is 50 centimeters wider than a standard space," said Xi Wen, a 55-year-old driver from Pixian county, Sichuan.

According to Zheng Cunlong, a manager of the service area, preparations for the four parking spaces started early last month.

"They are aimed at helping women whose driving skills are not good enough," he said.

In a survey by a major website in Sichuan, 73 percent of the respondents praised the parking space idea for showing concern for women.

Buses and subways have special seats for the old, weak, sick and disabled, and so the parking spaces for women can be interpreted as a demonstration of the principle of "ladies first", said one respondent, commenting on the fact that 18 percent of the respondents think the creation of wider spaces implies that females are not as good at driving as males.

A standard parking space is about 2 meters wide. "If it is only 10 centimeters wider, it will be much easier for a driver to back a car into a parking space," said Xi who has been driving for more than 30 years.

Hailing the parking spaces as something that respects and helps women, Xi said he does not think women are as sensitive to machines as men. "Many women are nervous when they back their cars into parking spaces," he said.

His 30-year-old daughter Xi Jie got her driver's license 10 years ago and is not a poor driver in his words. But her Audi Q5 SUV scratched a neighboring car while parking in a crowded street in Chengdu in February and was made to pay 300 yuan ($48) to the car owner.

Endorsing her father's view that women are not sensitive to machines, the younger Xi spoke highly of the special concern for women drivers at the Huaikou service area. She said she hoped more parking lots would follow the example.

The special parking spaces in the Huaikou service area are Sichuan's first for female drivers. But parking spaces for women will be introduced at 15 other expressway service areas in the province at the end of August, said Li Fang, an official with the Sichuan provincial department of transportation.

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