Shenzhen to fight congestion with parking fees
Shenzhen residents may face a hefty parking fee of up to 285 yuan ($47) per day in the coming year.
The Shenzhen Transport Commission issued a new plan on Tuesday for temporary roadside parking in the city.
The plan has aroused the ire of residents, who say the government is using fines instead of better management to deal with the city’s traffic congestion.
Zhang Mingwei, a manager with a local auto company, said all the parking fee will do is raise the cost of living.
“The government does not invest enough to provide facilities for car owners. Sometimes, we cannot find parking lots and are forced to park by the roadside,” he said. “And public transportation cannot reach certain areas in Shenzhen, either.”
“The problem of traffic congestion has existed in the city for a long time. The new plan will not solve the problem but only increase our costs,” Zhang added.
The transportation commission could not be reached for comment.
A statement on its website said that although Shenzhen is facing a serious traffic problem, the city has not imposed any restrictions on car purchases.
The new plan aims to guide the proper usage of cars via financial means, the statement said.
According to the plan, roadside parking in the city will be divided into three classes, and the fee will vary by time and area.
The first-class area includes the central Futian, Nanshan and Luohu districts, where the land is fully developed, the public transportation is comparatively better and the traffic is worse. The third class, conversely, covers remote areas that lack public transportation facilities and are still under development.
Parking on the roadside from 7:30 am to 10 pm will be charged a fee but will be free from 10 pm to 7:30 am, according to the plan.
During the working day, the firstclass area will charge 5 yuan for the first 30 minutes and 10 yuan every half hour after that. On the weekends, the fee will be 2 yuan for the first 30 minutes and 4 yuan for each half- hour after that.
Fees in the second-class area will be 60 percent of first class. Third class will be 40 percent of first class.
This means that parking in the first-class area for 24 hours — from 7: 30 am to 7: 30 am the following day — will rack up a fee of 285 yuan. There are no upper limits for the parking fee.
There will be 45,000 new temporary parking lots by the end of 2015. The pilot program will begin in early 2014.
The plan will be discussed at a public hearing on Dec 28.
Statistics from the authority show that there are more than 3 million cars in Shenzhen, with only about 800,000 parking spaces.
Car owners find the parking fee quite expensive.
“Over 200 yuan per day is too much for me,” said Wang Tong, a local resident. “Now, it only costs me 60 yuan per day to park in a parking lot around an office building.”
He said car owners may fight for cheaper parking spaces.
Chen Huixue, a trade company employee who takes the metro to work, said she hopes the new fee reduces random roadside parking.
Hu Zhenhua, director of the Shenzhen Institute of Urban Management, said the new plan will influence how people use transportation.
He said that when administrative means don’t work, financial means must step in.
“Parking spaces are scarce resources for a city. The high parking fee will cause people to think twice before driving their cars every morning. Eventually, they will use public transportation more often, which will save energy and protect the environment.”
Hu added that it is still too soon to tell whether the parking fee is reasonable or not but that the government should make adjustments after the trial period.