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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

‘Rational rates the most effective tool for on-street parking management’

Paul Barter, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 22, 2013
First Published: 01:11 IST(22/8/2013) | Last Updated: 01:17 IST(22/8/2013)

Paul Barter

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Australian transport expert, formerly associated with the National University Singapore

What are long-term solution to decongest commercial spaces?

Improved on-street parking management is the key. There is no short-cut. Chaotic parking scenes on the streets cannot be solved by increasing the supply of off-street parking.

It can only be solved with smart on-street management. Otherwise, off-street parking will always be financially unattractive to build and remain under-used even if it is built.

How can increasing parking tariff help?

Parking fees is one of the most important tools in the on-street parking management. Efficient pricing provides a stream of revenue that pays for the necessary enforcement and better infrastructure.

Why is there a need for area-specific parking rates?

Parking is a very local phenomenon. It can be overflowing and chaotic at one place and almost empty just 400 metres away.

If both places have the same price, then we are missing an enormous opportunity to nudge motorists towards using the existing parking space more efficiently.

Overcharging and tampered receipts are a big problem in Delhi. How it can be tackled?

A big part of the temptation to overcharge is because the existing prices are too low at many busy locations, so that the parking is often oversaturated. Some operators notice this and realise that they can charge higher prices without losing business. They are trying to charge what the market will bear.

If the city itself set prices using an occupancy target (if parking is full then the price would rise and if it is empty then prices will drop), then there would be no possibility of overcharging. In that scenario, parking contractors could not charge more than the official rate without losing business.

It would be much better, if local government get the extra revenue rather than the parking mafia.

What is the way out of traffic jams in markets?

More intensive parking management that is crafted to serve the aim of the key stakeholders in the area (such as shopkeepers) is central to any solution.

Efficient and appropriate pricing usually serves the interests of retailers. This is because it is the best way to encourage the most convenient parking for customers.

It does not help retailers, if parking is blocked all day by long-stay parking for commuters to the area or for shopkeepers themselves.


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