Wed, 02 Jul 2003

Secure Parking still charging new rates

Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Hotels, shopping malls and office buildings continued to impose their new parking rates on Tuesday, despite an earlier promise by Secure Parking, the city's largest off-street parking operator, to cancel the rate increase.

Under the new rates announced in early June, cars pay between Rp 1,500 and Rp 2,000 per hour and motorcycles Rp 1,000 per hour.

As The Jakarta Post observed on Tuesday, some private buildings, including Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Le Meridien Hotel, were still charging Rp 2,000 for cars per hour.

Meanwhile, motorists in shopping centers like Plaza Senayan, Plaza Indonesia and Kelapa Gading Mall pay Rp 1,500 per hour.

On Monday, Secure Parking general manager Toni Tjuatja told a hearing with the City Council that his office would cancel the rate increase on Tuesday.

The promise was made after the City Council demanded parking operators at private buildings across Jakarta refrain from raising their parking rates by up to 100 percent.

None of employees responsible for parking in the private buildings on Tuesday knew anything about the operator's plan to return to the old rates.

Tony could not be reached for comment on whether he would eventually make good on his promise.

Mardjuan Bakri, a member of City Council Commission A for legal affairs, told the Post on Tuesday that Secure Parking had misled the public as it was still charging the new parking rates.

"Secure Parking has deceived the public," he said.

He said the council had recommended that Governor Sutiyoso suspend the company's operations if it insisted on raising its parking fees.

Furthermore, if the governor failed to settle the matter, the council would demand that Sutiyoso take responsibility for it in his annual progress report, Bakri added.

The Commission A said the parking rate increase violated city regulations, including Gubernatorial Decree No. 1698/1999, which sets parking rates at Rp 1,000 per hour for sedans and vans and Rp 500 for motorcycles.

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

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

Commission A chairman Pantas Nainggolan said on Monday that parking tickets issued by Secure Parking provided sufficient evidence for the public to file a class action suit against the parking operator over the rate increase.