HCM CITY (VNS) — Parking lots in big cities have dramatically hiked fees as Tet approaches, defying cutoffs set by local authorities.
"The parking rate for one motorcycle is now VND10,000 ($0,48). This price will undoubtedly multiply in the next few days," said An Le, who lives near the parking lot at the Ben Thanh Market area, District 1 in HCM City. "When people complained, they were told that they could find somewhere else to park if the price was too high."
Under city regulations, parking lots at schools, hospitals and markets in the locality should charge motorcycle owners VND2,000-3,000 ($0.096-0.144). However, the actual parking rate at the local hospitals is VND5,000-10,000 ($0.24-0.48).
Moreover, many State agencies still collect parking fees even though State agencies are not allowed to charge citizens for parking.
In Ha Noi, the cost of parking in many places, from Trang Tien Commercial Centre to entertainment areas and the Old Quarter, can be 5-15 times higher than city regulations permit.
Vu Huong, in Cau Giay District, said that she and her friends were charged VND200,000 ($9.6) each to park in Dinh Liet Street. This was the most she has ever been charged, she said. Two years ago, she paid about VND30,000 ($1.44).
Many motorbike parking lots get around the regulations by using both tickets issued by the local authorities and regular printed tickets. When inspectors come, they use the authorised tickets, but as soon as they leave they return to overcharging.
The Department of Finance recently collected VND606 million ($29,100) in fines from such violators.
Nguyen Hoang Giap, chief inspector of the Ha Noi Department of Transport, told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper that the problem is particularly severe in Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh and Dong Da districts. Local authorities should clamp down on those running parking lots and force them to stop overcharging, he said. — VNS