By Soon Li Wei
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Beginning Oct 1, city folks are required to pay their parking fees through mobile applications. This comes following an announcement by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) that it would decommission its street parking meters.
Parking payments now have to be done through mobile applications and e-wallets, namely the EZ Smart Park, Flexiparking, Wilayah Parking or M-Cash.
DBKL is among the first few local authorities to migrate from parking meters to the digital platform which is seen as a beneficial move as it is more convenient and saves time as well.
However, DBKL’s announcement of the new payment mode just a day before its implementation drew mixed reactions from motorists, some of whom requested a trial period before the ‘new normal’ system is fully implemented.
Some people expressed their concern over those who did not own smartphones while others grumbled about having to install an e-wallet in their smartphone.
Initially, many people also questioned why the JomParking app was not on the list of mobile apps presented by DBKL. The JomParking app was introduced a few years ago to facilitate online payments for parking in street parking spaces regulated by DBKL.
In response to the public complaints, DBKL announced last week that motorists in Kuala Lumpur can use the JomParking mobile app to pay for roadside parking.
In the meantime, some DAP and PKR elected representatives from Kuala Lumpur appealed to DBKL to give motorists a one-month grace period to switch to the new payment system.
In a joint statement, they said DBKL’s new directive will have an impact on users who have to shift to the new apps.
Those who travel to the city for work or business commitments have to contend with congested roads and limited parking bays on a daily basis.
That’s not all. When they do succeed in getting a parking bay, there is another problem awaiting them – finding a parking meter that is still in good condition.
I myself have faced this situation many times. With all the parking meters within my reach not functioning, I had no choice but to park without paying and wait for the enforcement officers to slap me with a summons.
There have been numerous complaints about Kuala Lumpur’s user-unfriendly parking meters, with the grouses ranging from faulty buttons to meters that only accept coins and the Touch n Go card.
Worse still, faulty meters are not repaired despite repeatedly lodging complaints with the local authority.
The faulty parking meters have also been a sore point for celebrity Azwan Ali, also known as Diva AA, who has hit out at DBKL via his videos on social media.
For motorists who have had enough of the faulty parking meters, the new digital payment system comes as welcome news. On DBKL’s part, the high cost of repairing and maintaining its parking meters must have led to its decision to abolish its metered parking system.
While the e-wallet or mobile application is certainly a convenient way to pay for parking tickets, the new system has to be implemented in stages.
Local authorities such as the Seremban Municipal Council, Melaka Historic City Hall and Sepang Municipal Council introduced their online payment applications for parking one week before their implementation.
They also gave motorists the option to continue using the parking meters or coupons to make it convenient for senior citizens or individuals who don’t possess a smartphone. The one-week notice also gave others enough time to learn to use the new mobile payment apps.
Users have to be given other alternatives to pay for their parking ticket and, in the meantime, be given time to slowly adapt to the new normal and get used to making payments via their mobile app.
Should people find it cumbersome to use mobile applications to pay for parking in Kuala Lumpur, then they should seriously consider using public transport to commute to work.
It will save them time as they will not be stuck in traffic congestions that the city is famous for and, at the same time, enable them to do their part to reduce carbon emissions.
When more people choose to travel on public transport or cycle or walk, it will help DBKL to achieve targets and strategies set out in the Kuala Lumpur Low Carbon Society Blueprint 2030.
Our public transport system is disabled- and senior citizen-friendly and the fares are affordable too.
The government’s MY30 initiative has also helped to reduce the burden of public transport users. Introduced in June, the RM30 monthly travel pass offers unlimited rail and bus rides. This pass will be available until December this year.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the safety of parking lots in Kuala Lumpur, DBKL should get rid of touts who collect payments for parking from motorists during the day or at night.
There is no signboard or parking meter to indicate whether the parking lot is privately-owned or public property and motorists are led to assume that the touts were appointed by DBKL to collect the parking fees.
The absence of closed-circuit television cameras at public parking lots has also led to criminals and snatch thieves robbing motorists who park their vehicles there.
DBKL should consider installing CCTVs in public parking spaces belonging to them, as well as in dark and lonely areas and back lanes.
(The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.)
Translated by Rema Nambiar
Malaysian National News Agency
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