Sat, 05 Jul 2003

Council demands action against Secure Parking

Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Councillors demanded on Friday that Governor Sutiyoso immediately take firm action against Secure Parking, the city's largest off- street parking operator, for refusing to cancel its arbitrary rate increase.

They said the governor should issue a warning to force the company to reinstate the old parking rates, otherwise it should be closed down.

Koeswadi Soesilohardjo, spokesman for the council's Commission D on development affairs, said that if the parking operator continued with the new fees, his commission would recommend sanctions against it.

A formal recommendation is to be made for Sutiyoso to produce the first warning letter demanding that Secure Parking cancel the increase within seven days.

If the operator was still unresponsive, a second letter should be issued giving three days more to comply with the demand, Koeswadi said.

If the company still remained defiant, the governor should issue a final warning with a one-day deadline before the administration shut it down, he added, arguing that these procedures were in accordance with Gubernatorial Decree No. 1698/1999.

Secure Parking general manager Tony Tjuatja promised at a recent hearing with the City Council that his company would cancel the parking rate hike on Tuesday. But he did not keep the promise.

The council had demanded parking operators of private buildings across Jakarta to revoke their decision to raise parking rates by up to 100 percent.

Tony argued that the new prices were set by the owners of buildings in order to cover maintenance costs for the lots.

Company spokesperson Jani Ana Septa Hardiwinangoen echoed Tony's statement, saying, "The rate increase is the decision of the association. We are just the operator. We raised the rates unilaterally because it is what the owners of the buildings wanted."

She said the 100 percent increase in the rates followed the market mechanism and the increased tax for parking operators.

The increase was made effective on June 9, but without any official approval from either the city administration or the legislature, which prompted the council to declare it illegal.

The council has also threatened to push for a lawsuit against Secure Parking.

The arbitrary increase has violated Gubernatorial Decree No. 1698/1999, which sets parking rates across the capital at Rp 1,000 per hour for cars and Rp 500 for motorcycles.

It has also breached a number of other regulations, including Bylaw No. 5/1999 and Bylaw No. 20/1997, which state that any increase in parking rates must be approved by both the City Council and the governor.

However, Governor Sutiyoso said he did not have the power to force the private parking operators to cancel the rate increase, arguing that the rates were determined by market mechanisms.