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“If either one of the plans is adopted, it will be a huge burden for drivers who commute to work. Shenzhen has banned certain types of electric bikes, motorcycles and has now forced drivers to pay heavy fees or cram into public transportation, which isn’t developed in some areas,” said Li Li, a representative.
Li also said it was unfair for government employees not to pay the fees as they have free or cheap parking places at their workplaces. Li and other representatives suggested that some parking places at government agencies should be open to the public and be included in fee hike plan.
Jin Yan, a lawyer and another representative, said many people who work downtown were forced to buy an apartment in remote districts. With the money they saved, they bought a car to save time commuting.
“If the fee hike plan is imposed, the city’ public transport must expect to handle an additional 1 million riders a day, as 330,000 drivers are estimated to quit using cars to avoid the fees. Is our public transport system ready for this — to satisfy the needs of commuters, who want a fast, convenient system and don’t want to be late for work?” asked Jin.
Jin added that the proposed fees are too high and suggested traffic congestion fees shouldn’t be considered for weekends.
He suggested the government should subsidize the Metro company with the fees they collected to lower Metro fees. The city should lift its threshold for taxi licenses, build more parking places at Metro stations and develop bicycle systems, he said.
In response, Che Xiaoping, head of Shenzhen Road Traffic Administration Center, said both market and the government can play a role in adjusting parking fees. Che said the market mechanism isn’t suitable for fee adjustment because of its flexibility. He added noncommercial parking places of government agencies will also open to the public to ensure fairness and the commission will do research on imposing adjustment fees for noncommercial parking lots at an appropriate time.
Finally, Che said the transport commission will improve the plans by considering suggestions made by the representatives before handing it to the government for approval.
According to Plan A, parking in Category A areas would cost 6 yuan per 30 minutes in addition to the current parking fees between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during weekdays. The adjustment fees in Category B and C areas will be reduced to 4 yuan and 2 yuan, respectively, per 30 minutes. During weekends, the fee for Category A areas would be 3 yuan per 30 minutes, and 2 yuan and 1 yuan per 30 minutes in Category B and C areas, respectively.
Plan B calculates parking hourly, with 5 yuan for every 30 minutes in Category A areas, and 3 yuan and 2 yuan per 30 minutes in Category B and C areas, respectively, during workdays.
If a driver parks their car for 10 hours (8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.), they would need to pay 160 yuan, including a 100 yuan adjustment fee and a 60 yuan parking fee.
The adjustment fee drops to 3 yuan every 30 minutes during weekends in Category A areas and 2 yuan and 1 yuan in Category B and C areas, respectively.