A week into the digital collection of car parking fees on select stretches in the city, The Telegraph learnt on Friday that point of sale (POS) machines were not working or there was no machine at all at four of the places.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has rolled out digital collection of parking fees on 61 stretches to stop the practice of overcharging by parking attendants. Cash collection was stopped in those places.
Occupants of cars are supposed to be handed printed receipts mentioning the registration number of the vehicle and the entry and exit time.
The Telegraph visited four of the stretches on Friday and here’s what it saw.
On the stretch opposite The Oberoi Grand, there were more than five parking attendants but none was carrying a POS machine (through which one can pay using a debit or credit card). Asked why they were not using the machines, one of them brought one out of a vehicle. The attendants were collecting the parking fee in cash and were not issuing receipts. “They charged me Rs 60 for less than an hour,” said a man from Barasat. The actual parking rate for an hour is Rs 10.
The driver of another car said he was not given any printed paper mentioning the entry time when he parked the vehicle. The time was scribbled on the front windshield with a piece of white chalk, a common practice across the city.
“Internet connection is so poor that we are not being able to use POS machines,” said a parking attendant.
“We have not received any POS machine and are not yet trained in using them,” said a parking attendant.
‘s-Parking’ — the parking app that is supposed to tell users about vacant parking slots — showed that 38 slots were booked and 121 were free in the parking space along Russell Street around 2.45pm on Friday. But this newspaper found hardly any vacant slot.
The app, which can be downloaded from Google PlayStore (Android phones) and Appstore (iPhones), was launched on January 18.
Kavi Bharati Sarani
The app showed 10 vacant slots on the stretch neat Lake Market. But this newspaper found only two slots vacant.
A parking attendant said he was not being able to use the POS machine. “I need more training,” he said, after bringing the machine from a shop where he had kept it.
“On the few occasions I used it, the car occupants said they were not carrying debit or credit cards,” said the attendant.
A KMC official said users can make UPI payments, too, if they don’t carry cards. A user can ask someone to pay remotely, too.
A parking attendant under the Dhakuria flyover was taken aback when asked if he was using a POS machine. He was continuing with the old practice of tucking small pieces of paper mentioning the entry time under the wiper on the windshield.
“This should not have happened,” a KMC official said on being told what this newspaper witnessed.
“We have launched the app and distributed POS machines but it will take repeated prodding to get things going. We will keep giving that push. Years of malpractice have created an inertia that has to be broken. It may take some time, but we are determined to do this,” the official said.