Tue, 10 Jun 2003

Parking scheme proves unpopular

Zakki Hakim and Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A week after the new controversial on-street parking system was implemented, Governor Sutiyoso finally admitted on Monday that it did not work as expected.

He blamed the operator, PT Adiwira Sembada, for being unprofessional and not serious in managing the voucher parking system. The governor gave the operator three months to improve its performance, otherwise the administration would find another investor to handle the new system, which is expected to contribute Rp 32 billion to the city budget this year.

City Hall spokesman Achyat M. Awe said Sutiyoso was concerned about three points: One, the field manager of the company was not professional; two, the operator did not hold public campaigns to introduce the project; and three, it only invested a small amount of money. Achyat, however, refused to reveal the amount the company had invested in the new system.

However, Sutiyoso stressed that he would maintain the voucher system as he believed that the system would prevent fund leakage.

Achyat said that all locations designated for the on-street parking system should have switched to the new system three months after the pilot project was launched.

The system has been implemented on five streets: Jl. Agus Salim, Central Jakarta; Jl. Gadjah Mada, West Jakarta; Jl. Raden Patah, South Jakarta; Jl. Bulevar Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta; and Jl. Jatinegara, East Jakarta.

The system, however, has turned out to be less than appealing for most motorists.

According to parking attendants and officials on Jl. Bulevar, Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, only about a hundred vouchers had been sold to motorists, whereas The Jakarta Post observed that more than 100 cars were parked along the street, with a high turnover.

Meanwhile, on Jl. Gajah Mada, most parking attendants complained that during the past week they had each served, on average, only one motorist who willingly used the vouchers to pay their parking fees.

Jaya, a driver, said that it was too much trouble for him to use the new system because he had to walk quite far under the scorching sun in order to purchase a voucher.

"It will be more convenient for me just to pay Rp 1,000 rather than walk to the voucher outlets and have to pay up to Rp 5,000," he said.

Furthermore, Jaya said, none of the parking attendants had actually offered the new system to him.

This was also the case with shop owners along the street, most of whom claimed that they had never received any information regarding the new system from parking authorities, although their pick-up trucks made deliveries almost every day.

Under the new system, parking attendants are equipped with a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) worth Rp 17 million, or several times higher than the market price.

Observers had criticized the system and suspected that it would only benefit a few corrupt officials instead of the public.