LCQ6: On-street metered parking spaces
Hong Kong (HKSAR) - Following is a question by the Hon Christopher Cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, in the Legislative Council today (February 28):
Some members of the public have relayed to me that some shop operators have persistently used goods and miscellaneous items to unlawfully occupy on-street metered parking spaces in front of their shops in order to facilitate the loading and unloading of goods, which aggravates the shortage of on-street parking spaces. Also, some restaurant operators unlawfully occupy such parking spaces so as to operate valet parking business, and they pay parking fees on behalf of the drivers only when law enforcement officers come around, thus causing loss of public money. Regarding unlawful occupation of on-street metered parking spaces, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of complaints received by the authorities in the past three years about unlawful occupation of such parking spaces, and the number of the various types of law enforcement operations taken in this respect; the locations at which such acts were more rampant and the relevant details;
(2) whether it has estimated the loss of public money in each of the past three years caused by such acts; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) of the new measures to curb such acts to ensure that such parking spaces are used only for short-duration parking?
My reply to the various parts of the Hon Christopher Cheung’s question is as follows:
(1) Currently, the daily management, operation, maintenance and repair of the parking meter system are the responsibilities of a contractor engaged by the Transport Department (TD) through public tender. In monitoring the utilisation of parking meters, the contractor inspects on-street metered parking spaces of all districts in the territory at least once every four days in accordance with the contract signed with the TD. If a parking space is found to be improperly occupied by objects other than vehicles, the contractor will refer the case to relevant government departments for follow-up actions and notify the TD. Since the cases may involve different types of objects, the relevant government departments will handle the cases and follow up in accordance with appropriate legislation under their ambit, for example, the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap 28). In the past three years (2015-2017), the contractor referred a total of around 2 700 such cases to government departments for follow-up action.
If individual on-street parking spaces are frequently found to be occupied by vehicles but without payment of parking fees, the contractor will refer the cases to the Hong Kong Police Force (Police), which will issue penalty tickets pursuant to the Fixed Penalty (Traffic Contraventions) Ordinance (Cap 237). In the past three years, the contractor referred a total of 5 200 cases to the Police.
Apart from tackling the problem through proactive inspections conducted by the contractor, the TD also received a total of 173 complaints over the past three years on improper occupation of on-street metered parking spaces. The TD has requested relevant departments to take appropriate follow-up actions having regard to the circumstances of each complaint.
As regards the unlawful occupation of on-street metered parking spaces by shop and restaurant operators, the Police have not maintained statistics on the complaints, the law enforcement operations undertaken, and the locations at which such acts were more rampant.
(2) Under the Road Traffic (Parking) Regulations (Cap 374C), the maximum fee for use of metered parking spaces is currently $2 per 15 minutes.
Since the existing parking meter system is unable to detect whether individual on-street parking spaces are occupied or record the occupation time, it is difficult for the TD to assess the impact of unlawful occupation on government revenue.
(3) The Government plans to install a new generation of parking meters starting from 2019-20. Each new parking meter is fitted with a vehicle sensor to detect whether the relevant on-street parking space is occupied or not. The backend computer of the parking meter system can consolidate the utilisation situation and payment information collected by vehicle sensors, thereby identifying the locations of parking spaces which are being occupied but without payment of parking fees. The Police could, as far as practicable, deploy frontline officers to the locations concerned to take enforcement actions. This could enhance enforcement efficiency and in turn bring a stronger deterrent effect and help ensure that on-street parking spaces are provided to meet only the short-term parking needs of motorists.
Furthermore, the relevant departments will continue to take appropriate follow-up actions in accordance with their authorities to curb unlawful acts, including making use of the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance (Cap 570) that has come into operation since September 2016 to impose fixed penalties so as to tackle the problem of occupation of public places by shops in front of or adjacent to their premises (including lay-bys, roads and metered parking spaces in their vicinity) more efficiently.
Published on: 2018-02-28
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