Tue, 09 May 2000

Sutiyoso inspects defiant parking lot operators

JAKARTA (JP): Seemingly upset with the arrogance of private parking lot operators, Governor Sutiyoso made unannounced visits on several business and shopping centers on Monday.

During the afternoon inspection, the governor -- who has been under fire for his alleged role in the July 27, 1996 forcible takeover of PDI headquarters -- learned that most of the premises, particularly those managed by Secure Parking, were adamantly adhering to their decision not to charges the rates stated in a city regulation.

Sutiyoso has vowed to take tough measures against recalcitrant parking lot operators.

"I won't give up enforcing lower parking fees. The city administration will send warning letters to parking lots that violate the regulation on fees before sealing off the parking booths and machines," he told a few print and broadcast reporters who had been hastily invited to accompany him on the visit.

"We will undergo necessary procedures by sending three warning letters prior to finally sealing off the parking equipment," Sutiyoso added.

Inspections were made at the parking lots at the Landmark Center, Sari Pan Pacific hotel, Le Meridien hotel, Hilton International hotel, Plaza Senayan and Plaza Indonesia.

Of the places inspected, only the parking lots at Landmark and Sari Pan Pacific had obeyed the city ruling.

Gubernatorial Decree No. 1698/1999 stipulates that the parking fee for the first hour is Rp 1,000 (13 US cents) at busy areas and Rp 500 at less busy areas.

Owners and operators of private parking lots who have set their own rates were given extra time to reduce their rates as required by the ruling.

By the May 1 deadline, however, most of them had ignored the set rate.

A few days after the deadline, officials of the City Parking Agency held a covert operation to collect evidence on parking lots that still charge higher rates than the official ones.

Based on the evidence, the officials will send up to three warning letters to defiant owners and operators.

The period of time between each letter, however, has been lengthened as instructed by the governor.

Last week, Assistant to City Secretary on Administration Affairs Ma'mun Amin said three warning letters would be sent one week apart, after which parking equipment would be sealed off on June 1.

The governor, however, is demanding that officials get tough and stick to standard procedures, that is the first warning letter would be sent one week after evidence was collected, the second warning letter three days after the first, and the third a day after the second letter.

This means that defiant owners and operators could see their parking lots sealed off on May 22.

When asked about owners' plans to file suit against the city administration over the parking matter, Sutiyoso simply said that he welcomed any legal efforts.

"I also have my own legal bases to seal off the parking equipment of recalcitrant operators," he said.

According to Yani Mulyadi, head of the City Parking Agency, the first warning letters were already signed on Monday and were ready to be sent to 10 defiant operators of parking lots in the capital.

He said most of the 10 parking lots were managed by Secure Parking, a service run by PT Securindo Packatama Indonesia.

"The parking lots are those located at the Hilton hotel, Le Meridien hotel, Mulia hotel, Mal Mangga Dua shopping center, Plaza Indonesia shopping center and Plaza Senayan," Yani said after accompanying the governor on the inspection.

"There are 323 parking lots in the city and only 79 of them have complied to the city's regulation on parking fees," he added.

He, however, did not say why only 10 letters would be sent out.

City Council speaker Edy Waluyo separately said the council supported the city administration's effort to enforce the regulation on parking fees.

"Parking lots are part of the public facilities provided by owners to their visitors and clients as part of their service. I don't think residents should have to pay one single cent," he said. (nvn)