Mon, 14 Jul 2003

Hotels impose higher parking fees than shopping malls

Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Two days after its announcement, the city's largest parking operator Secure Parking indeed kept its promise to roll back its parking fee hikes. However, the parking fees in several hotels remained higher than the imposed fee.

The Jakarta Post observed on Sunday that two hotels in Central Jakarta, Mandarin Oriental and Le Meridien, still charge motorists Rp 1,500 per hour.

An official at Le Meridien hotel, who requested anonymity, quoted his superior that the hotel had received a copy of a gubernatorial decree, saying that all hotels in the city should charge each motorist Rp 1,500 per hour.

While several shopping malls, including Plaza Indonesia and Plaza Senayan both in Central Jakarta, charged motorists Rp 1,000 per hour with a 20 percent additional tax, making the fee Rp 1,200 per hour. But in Kelapa Gading mall, North Jakarta, the parking fee did not include additional tax.

"I'm glad that the parking fee has reverted back to the original rate. But I believe that the fee will rise again soon. I'm not sure that it will last long," said Julian, a motorist at Kelapa Gading mall.

Julian referred to the same problem in May 2002 when Secure Parking increased the parking fee from Rp 1,000 per hour to Rp 1,000 for 30 minutes and up to Rp 5,000 per hour in several office buildings.

The operator -- a joint venture between local and Australian companies that runs about 116 parking lots -- revised its decision after Governor Sutiyoso threatened to shut down their operation.

Secure Parking general affairs manager Tony Tjuatja told the Post on Sunday that he could not comment on the varying rates imposed in hotels and shopping malls, as he has been absent from office for the last three days with a cold.

"Sorry, I can't give any comment," he said by phone, coughing.

No officials from the city's parking management agency could be reached for comment.

Secure Parking managing director Rustam Rachmat addressed a press conference on Friday, announcing the decision to roll back a recent off-street parking rate increase gradually.

He claimed that the policy was urged by property owners, under the Communication Forum for Private Parking Operators, whose members include the Association of Indonesian Shopping Center Owners, the Association of Indonesian Retailers, the Association of Indonesian Property Managements, the Association of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Owners and the Indonesian Real Estate Association.

Secure Parking had increased the rates early in June by 100 percent from Rp 1,000 to Rp 2,000 an hour in most hotels and by 50 percent from Rp 1,000 to Rp 1,500 an hour in most shopping malls for cars and from Rp 500 to Rp 1,000 an hour for motorcycles.

The hike sparked criticism from the public and the City Council, who demanded the decision be revoked. Councillors said the hike breached several regulations, including Gubernatorial Decree No. 1698/1999 which sets parking rates at Rp 1,000 per hour for cars and Rp 500 per hour for motorcycles.