The Telegraph
Thursday , November 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Park but mark your time
Airport to introduce fee meter for vehicles

Bhubaneswar, Nov 14: Park your vehicle at the airport terminal but also keep an eye on the watch. The fee meter to be introduced at the new terminal will charge the vehicle for every minute of its stay here.

Come January, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to introduce a computerised parking system at the new domestic terminal. The system will be equipped with a timer that will have details of the time spent by a vehicle at the parking lot.

The parking system will be linked to the central server, so that all vehicles parked near the terminal can be monitored and fees charged as per the rules. At present, vehicles are charged according to their type and not on the basis of the time spent at the parking zone. While a two-wheeler is charged Rs 10, a four-wheeler pays Rs 40 to enjoy parking facility at the city airport. The rates are fixed according to the AAI specifications.

“Paying a parking fee for using space at an airport is not the point. If a person parks his vehicle in the designated zone only then is he or she liable to pay the fees and if any illegality is there, the security personnel should collect the fine from the vehicle owner. However, the vendor, who has taken the parking contract, has no right to blow the whistle or charge a vehicle. It is indecent and can give the city a bad name,” said Piyush Ranjan Rout.

Rout, a city-based urban management practitioner, said: “I wonder if any other airport is charging a passenger just for getting dropped or being picked up without using the designated parking lot. It is just like being extorted. I have written to the AAI authorities in this regard.”

Another flier, Sanjib Parida, said: “AAI authorities have done a great job by building a green terminal with art and heritage-based installations to welcome visitors. But, the AAI will earn a bad name for the manner in which parking fees are being collected by vendors barely 100 metres away from the new terminal.”

“I think their job is to collect fees from vehicles parked at the designated lot. They have no business disturbing people when they are being dropped or picked up. There should be an independent entry and exit, but here vehicles have to pass through the parking space and this is illegal,” Parida, a Mumbai-based IT engineer, said.

Airport director Sharad Kumar said: “Collection of fees from vehicles that have not been parked in the designated space or charging vehicles that come to drop or pick up travellers have never come to our notice. But, if such incidents are happening, we will take strong action.”

Kumar said: “A study undertaken by the AAI has found that five minutes are sufficient to either drop or pick up a passenger from the airport lounge, but most vehicles are consuming more time. For that, we will install a timer-fitted computerised parking system by January next. Once the entry of a vehicle is timed, the owner cannot deny the fees to be charged as per the rules.”

On entering the parking lot, a vehicle owner will be given a computerised ticket from a hand-held machine with the parking time mentioned on it. The new method will also help streamline parking operations.

“The timer-based system will come into operation as soon as the new domestic terminal is ready. Already, a trial arrival run was successfully conducted on November 8, and by the end of December or coming January, the new terminal will start functioning.”