The state’s move to lift the stay on the BMC’s policy of free parking in the city could lead to banning of parking on streets across the city, said a civic official. While the implementation of the policy will happen after the civic polls, people won’t be able to park on roads along footpaths unless they shell out a hefty fee. According to the policy, people will not be allowed to park their vehicles 500 metres away from a public parking lot. “Parking on the streets will be banned and their vehicles will be towed away by the traffic police. In case anyone wishes to park within 500 metres of the public parking lot, he/she may do so by paying a fee which is four times higher than the normal amount,” said a senior civic official requesting anonymity.
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The official said that after the civic elections are over, the BMC will conduct a survey to identify the street parking zones and they will be declared to the public after which charges will be introduced. “The idea behind introducing expensive fines is to urge people to use public transport instead which can relieve traffic issues and bottlenecks on the road,” said the official.
The policy sets differential rates for different parts of the city which has been divided into three categories — A, B and C — based on how crowded the areas are. This kind of rating increased the parking rates to Rs 2,000 a month for every night in areas like Colaba and Churchgate. The BMC will float tenders for contractors who will manage 92 on-street and 12 off-street parking lots of the BMC.
The BMC came up with the policy more than two years ago which was then stayed by the state in January 2015, following protests by resident associations in A ward. The civic body had decided to start the policy in areas like Colaba, Churchgate and Cuffe Parade but had met with stiff resistance from residents led by BJP MLA Raj Purohit.