HCMC public disgruntled with parking fee hikes, skeptical it can ease traffic woes

By Staff reporters   November 21, 2018 | 08:13 am GMT+7
HCMC public disgruntled with parking fee hikes, skeptical it can ease traffic woes
Cars park at an on-street parking area on Le Lai Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Doan
People in HCMC are unhappy that parking fees in the downtown area have been hiked steeply.

From October 1 the rate for parking cars under nine seats in Districts 1, 3 and 5 is VND35,000 ($1.51) for the first two hours and VND20,000 (0.85) for every subsequent hour.

The monthly rate has been increased by five times to VND5 million ($214).

The fee for cars under nine seats in the three districts used to be VND20,000 per time at day and VND40,000 per time at night.

The fees for motorbikes have almost been doubled to VND6,000 for four hours during the day and VND9,000 at night.

Increasing the parking fees is a move HCMC had been mulling for a long time to reduce the number of private vehicles coming into downtown and encourage people to switch to public transport to tackle traffic gridlock.

But not many people are happy.

While members of the public doubted the move could ease traffic, experts called the decision "unreasonable."

Comments below the line in VnExpress pointed out that the fee hike would not stop people from driving into downtown because they have to go there every day for work and school and most people cannot switch to public transport.

"The quality of public buses is way too low and so far the service can only attract college students who cannot afford motorbikes," a reader named Huy Tran Quang said.

Pham Hoan Phuc of the HCMC Bar Association said the People’s Committee had no legal basis to hike the parking fees because all commercial buildings must offer facilities like parking while apartments are obliged to provide free parking space to residents.

Therefore, the parking fee paid in apartment buildings should only to cover the cost of hiring parking lot attendants and is not meant for anything else, and the decision of the city is not reasonable, he told Saigon Giai Phong newspaper.

From August 1 the city also raised the rates for parking cars on 23 streets in Districts 1, 5 and 10 by four to eight times.

Pham Xuan Mai, former head of the transport engineering faculty at the HCMC University of Technology, said the city has always fixed the fees for parking in mall and apartment basements lower than on streets to discourage the latter.

Now, with the fees hiked for both private parking lots and streets, "where could people park?" Thanh Nien newspaper quoted him as asking.

He argued that drivers would now move out of basements and park on roads where they do not have to pay a fee, which would only worsen the gridlock.

"The city has still failed to improve public transport and develop proper parking lots in the downtown area. It is not acceptable for the city to burden the public with its responsibility."

By August last year, up to 7.6 million motorbikes and 700,000 cars were being used in the city.

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