Hong Kong government proposes doubling metered parking fees to as much as HK$20 per hour
Fears that rise may cause private car parks to also increase their fees
The government has proposed doubling the maximum metered parking fee to at least HK$4 or HK$5 for every 15 minutes, as the fee has not been adjusted for 23 years.
However, the Hong Kong Automobile Association said they opposed a large scale increase in fees as it feared the move might cause private car parks to follow suit.
In a paper submitted to the Legislative Council by the Transport and Housing Bureau on Thursday, it said the existing parking fee of HK$2 per 15 minutes had not been adjusted since 1994 and the proposed increase could help relieve traffic congestion.
“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 said.
But the association argued increasing fees would not help deterring vehicles from circulating or double parking on roads.
“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,” it said.
Under the government’s proposal, the new parking fee should not be more than HK$4 or HK$5 per 15 minutes for on-street parking spaces, meaning the maximum fee per hour should be HK$20.
In the next stage, the Transport Department will explore the feasibility of setting up a parking fee adjustment mechanism, under which the parking fee level for a particular area will be set according to the rate of use of parking spaces, and the maximum parking fee would be reviewed 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,” the paper said.
The government has also planned to spend HK$304 million to introduce 12,300 new parking meters by 2019-2020, with multiple payment methods and sensors to detect vacant parking spaces for motorists.
The bureau pointed out the need to replace the existing 10,250 parking meters as they had been in use since 2003 and reached the end of their lifespan.
It said a new parking meter trial scheme providing Octopus and contactless credit card payment, completed in July this year, performed smoothly and close to 60 per cent of respondents in a survey did not see any areas in need of improvement.
For the new generation of parking meters, the bureau proposed that they should have new features including a card reader to provide several payment methods like mobile electronic wallets, a mobile application to allow remote payment, and vehicle sensors to provide real-time information to assist motorists in finding vacant parking spaces.
The government will need to put out tenders for the management, operation and clearing service of the new system to relevant contractors, estimated to cost HK$47 million a year.
The new measures are subject to legislative amendments to various road traffic laws to be tabled to Legco in the next legislative year. The procurement of the new parking meters is also subject to a funding approval from Legco.