Car parking fees in the Kolkata municipal area will increase from Saturday, April 1, mayor Firhad Hakim said on Friday.
The new parking fee for four-wheelers is Rs 20 an hour for the first two hours. The old rate was Rs 10 an hour from 7am to 10pm.
The old rates were uniform, while the new ones are graded.
According to the new rates, the car parking fee is Rs 40 an hour from the third till the fifth hour. After that, the rate is Rs 100 an hour.
The increase in parking fees is being implemented even before the point of sales (POS) machines — the ones used to swipe debit and credit cards — to collect parking fees have been distributed to parking attendants in all parking bays in the city.
A parking attendant on Middleton Street in the city’s central business district told The Telegraph on Friday that he was yet to receive the machine.
In many places where machines have been delivered, the fee is still being collected in cash.
Officials of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) had earlier said only electronic payments, made through POS machines, would be allowed once the new rates were implemented.
The POS machines will produce a printed slip with the time when the car is parked mentioned on it. The slip will be handed to the car owner/occupant. When the car leaves, another slip mentioning the amount to be paid will be generated and handed to the owner/occupant.
“We are introducing the new rates and the new system (of collecting parking fee) on Saturday. Officials have to ensure that the new system is implemented. We cannot expect the new system to work if the parking fee is collected in cash,” Hakim said.
Factors like repeated complaints of overcharging by parking attendants prompted the KMC to introduce POS machines to collect parking fees. Since the machines will give printed slips with the time of entry and exit as well as the amount to be paid mentioned on them, parking attendants won’t be able to overcharge users, a KMC official said.
Parking attendants now charge any amount they wish. It can be Rs 50 an hour or even more, which is way above the approved rates. And users are not handed any receipt.
If the increased rates are implemented without POS machines reaching many parking bays, it will hardly change anything for the users. They could still be asked to pay more than the new rates because there would be no record to show that the attendant was paid more.
“One of the reasons why only electronic payment will be allowed in places where POS machines have been distributed is that all the payments will have a record and no money can go into an individual’s pocket. If the money is collected electronically, the attendant will not be able to ask for more than the stipulated rates,” said a KMC official.
The absence of machines in many parking bays belies that claim.
The payments can be made through debit/credit cards. There is also the option for UPI payments.
A mobile app — s-Parking — will have the information on vacant parking slots.