Since March of 2015, motorist driving around the KL city centre has noticed at least three electronic LED boards indicating the number of car parks available in KLCC, Low Yat Plaza, Lot 10, Fahrenheit88, Starhill Gallery, Pavilion KL, and Sungai Wang Plaza. The sign board is a project of Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) under its ‘Parking Guidance Information System’ project which aims to tell the driving public the number of car park space available should they wish to go there.
Well and good, but for City Hall to implement such an information system without even delivering the intended complete solution to traffic information is ironic. Some years back DBKL introduced ITIS (integrated Traffic Information System) and the system has been plagued by one problem after another, eventually succumbing to pressure to even use its mobile monitoring unit for crowd control! Now, ITIS is used to also publicise welcome messages, such as the one recently which ‘Welcome The President of the USA’
The question to be asked here is what problems do these parking areas in private buildings cause to the majority of road users so much so that DBKL wants to implement this system that focuses on private parking availability?
Do shoppers really look at these boards or would it make more sense for DBKL to look into current technology utilising the smart phone which surely is more effective than this?
Take for example, our photo taken during the morning rush hour. Does it really tell the drivers where the parking places are that morning?
The more pertinent problem that compounds the problems which city dwellers and workers face is the availability of street parking and how it affects them. Cars, Bikes & Trucks visited a few places, including the street car park lots that are available right in front of our office. With at least two dispensing machines that serve up to 60 car park lots, office workers are pressed to return to the machine every 3 hours simply because there is a maximum amount of time you can pay for when making the purchase.
This would mean that for someone who relies on these lots for their convenience, they will have to make another two visits to the machine before they knock off for the day. We called city hall to ask them about this 3 hour ruling, but apart from an admin assistant who cannot answer our query, the head of department was simply not available from 2pm to 5pm.
Let alone that these machines currently accept coins only, which means user that intends to park from 9-5 would need to carry RM6.40 in coins daily. To ensure that we get the right answers to our many questions, we contacted a private contractor, registered with City Hall to look after certain areas.
The operator which is listed as Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (Kuala Lumpur Foudation) is an organisation which is chaired by the Minister of Federal Territories, and in turn it appoints Vista Sumerose Sdn Bhd as its contractor. Our query to Vista Sumerose was diverted to En.Hafiz. However he was not able to provide any answers to our list of questions.
We wanted to know why as an operator, they cannot make it more convenient for the public to pay, by electronic payment or at least by monthly payments through normal banking channels. In the city of Petaling Jaya and Municipality of Subang Jaya, public parking seasonal coupons can be purchased via a monthly program where users only need to pay RM80.00 for an entire month. With the system being employed by these City Hall contractors, it is not only inconvenient, but also worrying.
The current machines that City Hall approved are ‘No display required’ dispensing machines. When asked, a car park user merely shrugged and say that they have no information at all, and cannot even use their Touch N’Go card despite there being Touch N’Go stickers on the machine, and where displaying tickets are concerned, he would rather display it than be fined for not doing so.
There is also the question of why Touch N’Go is so heavily promoted seeing that as a private company Touch N’Go collects commissions when the card is used for private parking transactions and a public system should not be favourable for any private electronic payment system.
As a local government, City Hall should implement user friendly applications, especially when it involves motorists. With an electronic board which tells roadusers where to park, perhaps now its time to clean up their act and make parking and paying even more easier.