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Smart parking sees less vehicles as owners decry exorbitant fees

By Arpana Adhikari

Kathmandu, June 19: The parking lots of New Road and its surrounding areas have become less crowded for the last three days after an automated smart parking solution came into operation.

To end parking woes in New Road, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) in collaboration with Wheels Truly Yours Pvt. Ltd, introduced the smart parking system at five different places of the prime commercial site on Sunday. With the implementation of the smart parking system, a considerable number of vehicles appear to have been driven out of the parking lots at Bishal Bazaar, Dharmapath, Pako, RB Complex and near Rameshwor Sweets on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.“The decline appeared to be caused by people’s unwillingness to pay the parking fees. People are used to park their vehicles free of cost earlier in the New Road area, so it will take time to make people familiar with the system,” said Agrawal. According to him, the parking fee of a two-wheeler is Rs. 25 and for a four-wheeler is Rs. 80 per hour. The operator of the smart parking lots would pay revenues to the metropolis from the money collected from the parking lots, he added.The automated parking system has, however, eased traffic chaos and has systemised vehicular movement in New Road, one of the most crowded sites in the capital. The implementation of smart parking has also controlled the random parking of vehicles along the roadside, one of the reasons for traffic chaos. Shreeya Kunwar, a local of Sifal, who reached New Road for shopping, dropped the idea of parking h er scooter at New Road smart parking areas as she found the fee too high for her to pay. Milan Shrestha, another bike rider, shared similar thoughts about the parking charge. “I think charging Rs, 25 per hour is too expensive. I am here to buy goods for my shop and it will take me almost three hours to complete my shopping. If I park my bike here, then I have to pay Rs, 75.”However, there are some people who are lauding this move of metropolis. Akriti Shrestha posted her thought on her Facebook account, “The smart parking concept, well implemented. Surprisingly once it is paid parking, spaces are available. When the parking was free, I hardly got any space in New Road. It’s time to implement the same system in Durbar Marg as well.”The smart parking system is believed to ensure for a better experience for the four-wheeler drivers.According to Agrawal, all these five parking lots could accommodate 800 two-wheelers and 70 four-wheelers. He informed that to use the service, one has to download “Park KTM” app in their mobile set and the app will be made available in play stores and app stores, said Agrawal. For the proper management of the parking, 14 parking attendants have been deployed with the GoPro cameras on their bodies, he added. “These cameras will record all the activities of the area, including sound”, he said.The number of people willing to use the facility has also increased. According to Agrawal, 60 persons had booked the parking online on Sunday and 80 on Monday. 

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