Parking fees go up, again

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The changes to the parking fees announced last November will come into effect June 17, maintaining the same justification previously given that the measures will ‘increase rotation of parking spaces during peak hours’. The new changes affect heavy vehicles, motorcycles and light vehicles, increasing the price per hour in nearly all cases – doubling or tripling in most – and reducing the maximum parking time of certain metres – those of light vehicles and cars.
This comes after the surprise changes implemented on January 1st, resulting in a public outcry over the locking and towing of vehicles – in some cases entire streets of cars.
The information notes that the ‘progressive substitution of parking metres’ is being carried out across the city and will allow for payment with payment cards ‘alleviating the need to prepare many coins to pay the parking’.
However, despite mentioning ‘peak hours’ no actions have been announced to relax the measures during non-peak hours, and during the period of the substitution of the metres, car owners have received fines for parking in previously metred spaces, with no alternatives provided.
Cars that are locked are taken to Cotai ‘Temporary Parking Facility’ and are only collectable by the owner of the vehicle, resulting in cars being stacked on top of each other to allow enough space to accommodate all the seized vehicles (see photo).
Last year, according to data from the Public Security Police Force, over one million fines were given out for illegal parking – a 34.8 per cent increase year-on-year – before the new measures came into place. Total traffic fine payments received by the authorities for traffic infringements last year hit MOP206.9 million. That translates to an average of four fines for each of the 250,871 vehicles registered in the territory last year.
According to the data, the authorities locked some 9,537 light vehicles and 1,148 motorbikes in the first eleven months of 2016, as previously reported by this newspaper. That would suggest some 867 light vehicles and 114 motorbikes were locked per month on average.
The release notes that there is a total of ‘more than 11,000 metred parking spaces in Macau, 80 per cent of which are for light vehicles,’ however, despite the evident need for more parking spaces for both types of vehicles ‘the DSAT will gradually increase the number of metred parking spaces for motorcycles,’ with no mention of cars.