Monday blues for KL motorists

Taking the heat: An angry motorist speaking his mind to a DBKL enforcement officer in Bangsar on the first day of the revised parking rates in the central business district. — Photos: RICKY LAI/The Star

CONFUSION reigned across the city as the increased charges for parking bays owned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) kicked off within the central business district (CBD) yesterday.

Motorists were shocked when they found out the hourly parking charges in the CBD had increased from the usual 80sen per hour to RM2 for the first hour and RM3 for every subsequent hour.

The CBD areas in Kuala Lumpur are Bangsar, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Bukit Bintang, Bukit Damansara, Sri Hartamas, Desa Hartamas and Solaris Mont Kiara.

Yesterday, StarMetro front-paged the report that parking fees in the CBD would be increased by up to 150% to help free up parking spaces, encourage people to use public transportation and to carpool to ease traffic congestion in the city.

The story went viral on social media with hundreds of netizens expressing their dissatisfaction and anger over DBKL’s move at such short notice.

StarMetro spoke to a few affected motorists yesterday who voiced their dissatisfaction over the new charges, including the difficulty in using the newly installed parking ticket machines.

Nik Haidi (in check shirt) explaining the new parking charges to frustrated motorists. — Photos: RICKY LAI/The Star
Nik Haidi (in check shirt) explaining the new parking charges to frustrated motorists.

Assistant relationship manager Loqman Hakim Sofian, 30, who was unaware of the revised parking charges, said he was disappointed and disturbed over DBKL’s move.

“Normally, I park my car for about eight hours in Bangsar which costs me about RM3.50 but now it is going to be RM5 for only two hours.

“While the argument that the parking rate was increased due to the parking demand in Bangsar is valid, I am still not satisfied because not all of us live in this area and we have limited access to public transport.

Loqman, who lives in Sungai Buloh, said the increase would be a burden to the people.

“I am disappointed a survey was not conducted to get our opinion before imposing the new parking charges,” he said, adding that he would have to seek alternative options.

A bank staff known only as Lina, 45, who has been working in the area for over 10 years, said motorists had to pay for toll charges and now have to fork out more for parking as well.

“I am from Ijok where the infrastructure is not up to par,” she said.

DBKL officers checking parking coupons in Jalan Telawi, Bangsar.
DBKL officers checking parking coupons in Jalan Telawi, Bangsar.

Nineteen-year-old student going by the name Navin, found it troublesome to use the new parking meter.

“The authorities should simplify the paying process,” he said.

In Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Dr P. Mahendran, who runs a clinic in Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, said many businesses would suffer from the increase if people start to avoid areas with the higher charges.

“Also, there are no public transport services nearby as an alternative. Many are opting not to pay because it is just too expensive,” he said, adding that he has had his clinic there for the past 30 years.

Advertising executive Noor Asyikin Sazali, who lives in Shah Alam, said she would have to pay triple to get to her workplace in Desa Hartamas via public transport.

“Now, I pay RM488 per month driving my own car, but would have to fork out RM1,188 if I take public transportation and leave home by 6.30am,” she said, adding that she would have to take the LRT and a taxi daily if she did not drive to work.

The new parking charges will be enforced in stages from now until Aug 1, which will see an increase of between 100% and 200%, depending on the locality.

DBKL has upgraded 461 parking terminals to reflect the new rates.
DBKL has upgraded 461 parking terminals to reflect the new rates.

Parking fee in zones outside the city, which is currently 50sen per hour, will eventually go up by next month.

Depending on the zones, motorists will be charged RM1.50 or RM1 per hour – an increase of 100% and 200% respectively.

DBKL owns 46,100 metered parking bays in the city; 22% or 9,914 are located in the CBD.

On the new charges, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz said 100 enforcement officers were mobilised to help in the transition.

He reiterated that the move to increase the parking rates was the only way to ease traffic congestion in the city.

“At the moment, the parking rates in shopping complexes are much higher than our rate.

“If we compare these rates to that of other Asian countries, we are still cheaper,” he said.

Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) consultant Datuk Nik Haidi Nik Mohamad said as of yesterday, 461 of the 1,200 parking ticket terminals in the city had been upgraded to reflect the changes.

He said they aimed to complete the rest by the end of the month.

“There have been some teething problems, mostly with users not aware of the increase and not having enough small change to make payment through the machines.

“But, they can use the Touch ‘n’ Go (TnG) card and MyKad to pay for parking at the terminals, which is more convenient.

“They can also use the Jomparking Phone App to top up remotely.

“There needs to be a mental shift for people to accept the new charges,” he said.

YWP, the welfare arm of the Federal Territories Ministry, will manage the city’s parking system and has introduced a new system called the City Car Park System (CCP).

Nik Haidi said CCP personnel would be visiting the areas to educate users on the new system and rates.

CCP’s vehicles fitted with wireless sensors have been deployed to announce the new parking charges and monitor each parking bay to check if the motorists have paid.

“The machine is also capable of allowing payment via credit card, topping up TnG cards and paying up DBKL’s traffic summonses but this is in the pipeline,” Nik Haidi said.

He said regular users could also apply for a digital monthly parking pass from DBKL priced between RM100 and RM300 per month.

However, he acknowledged there was a 20% quota for the passes for each location, based on a first come, first served basis.

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