NDMC parking fee hike in Delhi leads to rows
NDMC had not issued updated parking slips featuring the revised rates, making commuters apprehensive about deception to refuse payment
The New Delhi Municipal Council’s (NDMC) decision to double parking fees at 38 sites did not go down smoothly on Tuesday as disputes and delays unfolded at the parking sites. The root cause was apparent: NDMC had not issued updated parking slips featuring the revised rates. Instead, on Tuesday, parking attendants handed commuters old slips with new rates stamped on them, making commuters apprehensive about potential deception to refuse payment until provided with “proper parking slips”. Even when presented with the NDMC order confirming the new rates, many deemed it insufficient.
During a spot check on Tuesday, HT found that NDMC had not issued new parking slips with the revised rates, and parking attendants were giving commuters old parking slips with new rates stamped on them or showing them copies of the NDMC order explaining the reason behind the fee hike.
Several parking attendants told HT that people were not objecting to the rate hike so much as the lack of parking slips with new rates printed on them.
On Monday, NDMC doubled the parking fee rates for both on and off-street parking sites directly managed by the council staff in the New Delhi area, citing directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) under the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) to mitigate the air pollution crisis.
The hike will remain in force till January 31, 2024, according to the order issued by the civic body. The council said the fee is being “doubled to discourage private transport” for the parking managed by NDMC.
At the Kartavya Path parking, attendant Nadeem Ahmad said visitors to India Gate were unwilling to pay the new rate without proper parking slips. “We are using the fee slips with a stamp of the new rates, but every other commuter is arguing with us. We have requested the department to issue the new fee slips,” Ahmad said.
HT saw similar arguments occurring at the exit point. Rahul Sharma, a bike rider from Adarsh Nagar, said he did not object to the new rates, but proper documents need to be provided. “At the end of the day, people should not feel they are being scammed,” Sharma said.
Sonu, who goes by a single name, another parking attendant on Kartavya Path, said India Gate is frequented by people who do not wish to spend a lot of money. “I have been in several arguments today. We are making it work with the stamped parking fee slips. We hope the situation will be resolved soon,” he added.
At Khan Market, Nagender Kumar, an NDMC parking attendant, was carrying a printout of the one-page order about the fee hike. “We still haven’t received the new parking slips, so we are using the copy of the order to make people aware of the new rates. Most people have been cooperative, but in many cases, the drivers need to submit the parking slips. This is causing problems,” he added.
Under the current parking fee slab for surface parking, four-wheelers are charged ₹20 per hour with a maximum of ₹100 per day while two-wheelers are charged ₹10 per hour. In the case of multilevel parking sites, the charges are ₹10 for up to four hours for cars and ₹5 up to four hours for two-wheelers. These rates were doubled from Tuesday.
Meanwhile, traders have demanded that the fee hike be implemented in all markets instead of selective places.
“Why should it be enforced in only a few markets? We do not understand how it going to reduce the traffic,” said Sanjeev Mehra, who heads the Khan market traders’ association. “People who drive cars worth lakhs or crores of rupees can easily pay ₹20 more. They give more to attendants in tips. The hike will discourage those people from visiting the markets who cannot pay so easily,” he added.
Atul Bhargava, president of the New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA), said the parking fee hike should be uniform across Delhi. “First consultation should be held with the market associations. Consumers should not be concerned that certain markets have more parking fees,” he added.
Dr S Velmurugan, chief scientist at the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said the move may backfire, and people might park their vehicles at non-designated sites, defeating the purpose of the fee hike. “They will have to increase the enforcement, and we need a more comprehensive uniform policy for this measure across the city. It is a form of congestion pricing, but it will not have any impact unless Delhi is considered at a policy level rather than each local body making its own rules,” he added.