|An iParking attendant asks a driver to pay VNĐ50,000 for a parking slot. — Photo tienphong.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Fraudulent charges have been reported at iParking spots in Hà Nội a year since the programme started.
First piloted on downtown streets of Trần Hưng Đạo and Lý Thường Kiệt in Hoàn Kiếm District, the iParking service is now being deployed at 156 spots in seven urban districts. According to the city People’s Committee, the technology is expected to improve financial transparency and cashless payment for parking.
Although it was initially announced that all international payment cards and mobile carriers are accepted, parking fees can only paid with a Viettel mobile phone account. Otherwise, car owners have to pay by cash.
At iParking spots in Hoàn Kiếm and Hai Bà Trưng districts, staff have collected fees without giving tickets to car owners, the Tiền phong (Vanguard) newspaper reports.
The iParking spots between 35 and 39 Tô Hiến Thành Street managed by Anh Duy Company, for example, require users to pay via mobile phone. However, instead of instructing drivers to use their phones, staff asked them to pay VNĐ25,000 (US$1) in cash for an hour’s parking without giving them a ticket.
At another iParking spot managed by the same company on Thái Phiên Street, staff were seen charging drivers VNĐ50,000 ($2) to park for 15 minutes while the notice board indicates a fee of VNĐ25,000 for 60 minutes. Despite drivers’ complaints, they insisted on the higher price.
A similar situation occurred at iParking spots on other central streets including Lê Thánh Tông, Tuệ Tĩnh and Lý Đạo Thành.
Hà Nội Department of Transport has launched an investigation into those spots and detected several violations including not indicating occupied parking spaces in the central system, not issuing tickets and allowing cars to park outside regulated areas. Moreover, regarding cars parked for a second or third hour, the system is unable to automatically update the time.
The interdisciplinary agency of the city transport department, police and finance department has also asked 12 districts to tighten management and handle violations regarding fraudulent charges at iParking spots. However, until now, only three districts of Đống Đa, Thanh Xuân and Bắc Từ Liêm have agreed to collaborate.
According to Hà Nội Department of Transport, all information relating to car parking should be available online, and car owners should be able to use their smartphones to find and book parking spaces in advance.
The parking fees are calculated based on duration and can be paid via mobile phone or bank accounts. This technology follows the city’s effort to improve urban traffic management and uphold transparency in collecting parking fees. — VNS