Hong Kong is Raising Parking Fees For the First Time Since 1994

To help relieve the traffic congestion problem, Hong Kong’s Transport and Housing Bureau has officially submitted a proposal to increase the parking meters in the country by doubling its rate to as much as 20 Hong Kong dollars ($2.56) per hour – or 4 to 5 Hong Kong dollars ($0.51 to $0.64) per 15 minutes.

“Increasing the metered parking fee can discourage motorists from circulating or double parking on roads waiting for metered parking spaces. This will have the added benefit of discouraging prolonged parking,” the bureau wrote in the paper forwarded to the Legislative Council on December 21, Thursday, according to South China Morning Post.

The last time the government increased the rate of its parking meter, which is at 2 Hong Kong dollars ($0.26), was back in 1994.

However, some within the association has raised the concern and argued that increasing the rate would not help deter citizens from circulating or even double parking on the roads, said in the report.

To relieve these problems, we propose that in some busy districts, the government change the two-hour meters to a shorter duration or introduce shorter parking periods like 15 minutes or 30 minutes,” the proposal pointed out.

With this policy, the maximum duration that a driver can park at a certain location would be two hours, RTHK reported.

The proposal, for its next phase, said that the Transport Department will explore a more feasible parking fee adjustment mechanism where a particular area’s parking fee level will be set based on the rate of use for the parking space. The department will reportedly review the fee from time to time.

This aims to achieve the policy intent of providing on-street parking spaces to cater for the short-term parking needs of motorists,” said in the paper.

The Hong Kong government is aiming to introduce 12,300 new parking meters starting 2019 to 2020 that will cost around 304 million Hong Kong dollars ($38.8 million), which will eventually replace all 10,250 meters that have been in use since 2003.

These new meters will introduce new payment methods including the use of Octopus cards, credit cards and electronic wallets. It also has a new feature that allows motorist to check the spot if it’s free on real-time using a mobile application.

If the proposal gets passed, the government will reportedly have to put out tenders for the operation as well as the management and clearing service of the new system to its contractors, which is estimated to cost about 47 million Hong Kong dollars ($6 million) per year.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons / Gramthamgoalmen (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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