Wed, 30 Apr 2003

City Council approves new on-street parking system

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Amid criticism from activists and commuters, the City Council approved on Tuesday the city administration's plan to introduce a new on-street parking system with prepaid electronic cards. The pilot project of the new system is to kick off early next month.

The approval came during a hearing between the City Council's Commission B for economic affairs, and representatives of the city administration and its business partner appointed to operate the new system.

Commission B chairman Syarif Zulkarnaen Ginting said the commission would accept the new system, as it is expected to increase the disappointing annual parking revenue.

Last year, the city administration set a revenue target of Rp 32 billion from on-street parking, but managed to collect only about 40 percent of the target, or Rp 13 billion.

Non-governmental organizations urged the administration to improve its management, saying that a new parking system would not solve the problem. Commuters also objected, as they were afraid that they would be charged double: One, by the parking operator for the electronic parking cards, and two, by the thugs who often roamed parking lots acting as parking attendants.

Several transportation observers have also criticized the plan to introduce the new on-street parking system. They said the city administration should actually reduce on-street parking gradually, as part of comprehensive efforts to solve the transportation problem here.

The new system is to be operated by a firm appointed by the city administration, PT Adiwira Sembada, which has already prepared 200 portable electronic registers, each costing Rp 17.15 million.

The pilot project will introduce the new system in five locations initially: along Jl. Agus Salim in Central Jakarta, Jl. Raden Patah in South Jakarta, Jl. Jatinegara Timur in East Jakarta, Jl. Bulevar Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta and Jl. Gajah Mada in West Jakarta.

These five are among the 434 official on-street parking locations that are to be replaced with the new system.

Based on a city bylaw, the parking rate will still be set at Rp 1,000 (11 U.S. cents) per hour per automobile.

Commission B Secretary Dani Anwar said that although the concept of the new parking system was approved, its successful implementation in the field remains to be seen.

"We should always monitor what happens in the field, as we often see that the implementation is not the same as the concept," Dani told the press after the hearing.

Operating Manager of PT Adiwira Sembada Parmusanto said that car owners could purchase prepaid parking cards of differing values, and the parking fees would be deducted directly from these cards.

Parmusanto told The Jakarta Post that car owners could refill its credit value from head parking attendants and at designated retail outlets.

He said that the price of the parking card had not yet been decided on by the company, although the pilot project was due to begin early next month.

He did not elaborate on where the parking cards would be sold.