Drive against parking ticket hike

Local | Carain Yeung 21 Mar 2017

The proposed 50 percent increase in the penalty for illegal parking will be tackled at the Legislative Council today and is expected to be met by stiff resistance following a protest by more than 100 lorry drivers yesterday.

The HK$320 fixed penalty for the offense has not been changed since 1994, according to a Legco paper submitted by the Transport and Housing Bureau.

The bureau wants to raise the penalty to HK$480 - a 50 percent hike from the current level, citing reasons of "restoring the deterrent effect" and catching up with inflation.

It also highlighted deteriorating road traffic conditions, saying illegal parking and loading or unloading activities in restricted zones are "rampant" despite police enforcement.

Figures show that tickets issued by the police against traffic offenses related to congestion increased substantially in five years from about 820,000 in 2011 to more than 1.6 million last year.

Stanley Chiang Chi-wai, spokesman for the Land Transportation Alliance, said government officials have overlooked the root of the problem, which is a lack of parking spaces in the city.

More than 100 professional drivers from the alliance and more than 50 commercial vehicles took part in protest outside government headquarters.

The vehicles, including container trucks and school buses, were parked near Lung Wui Road, Tim Mei Avenue and Legislative Council Road and their drivers blared their horns for two minutes to air their discontent.

Chiang said: "There are not enough parking spaces. You are forcing us to park illegally and now you are chasing after us. It is not fair."

He said parking spaces are scarce for large vehicles, adding that drivers often receive eight to 10 illegal parking tickets a month.

There used to be land for short-term tenancy, which could be used for car parks, Chiang said, but many such car parks gave way to housing projects in recent years.

Transport sector lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming said the bureau has initiated studies to address the problem but it is unacceptable for authorities to raise the penalty before results are available.

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