New cashless parking system confuses motorists

A new parking system that has attendants using handheld computers to collect fees did not go as smoothly as planned when it went into effect in five areas across the city on Monday as most motorists complained about various frustrations from using the new scheme.
The pilot project was implemented on Jl. Bulevar Raya, Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta; Jl. Jatinegara Timur, East Jakarta; Jl. Gajah Mada, West Jakarta; Jl. Raden Patah, South Jakarta, and Jl. Haji Agus Salim, Central Jakarta.

There were various problems, mostly because the parking attendants were not ready to introduce the system to motorists or they had trouble operating their handheld computers.

Parking attendants on Jl. Raden Patah ran into difficulties with many of the motorists refusing to cooperate. The situation was further worsened by the fact that the attendants were not fully informed about how the new system operates.

Jaya, for example, who has been working as a parking attendant for 16 years, needed to have the system explained to him by supervisors.

He had been on duty for seven hours but only one motorist was willing to cooperate.

Another parking attendant said that it could take a long time before the system runs smoothly.

"Most of the motorists who park their cars here are police officers. They refused to comply with the system," he said.

Jl. Raden Patah runs behind the National Police Headquarters.

Peter, a father of three who parked his car on Jl. Bulevar Raya, Kelapa Gading, said that the administration should provide motorists with better service, especially in having the cars parked so that they will not disturb the flow of traffic.

However, he hoped that the new system would ensure that the parking fees he paid would go to where they were supposed to and eventually be funneled back to the public in the form of better services.

The implementation of the new parking system was also marred with technical problems as the high-tech gadgets turned out to also have some flaws.

When The Jakarta Post used a prepaid voucher to pay parking fees at three different locations, Rp 3,000 was somehow lost in the transactions.

Motorists pay a Rp 5,000 deposit, which is deducted from their voucher after swiping it through a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) held by the attendant.

The balance of the deposit, depending on the length of time a vehicle is parked, is returned, but only if the voucher is swiped a second time prior to leaving. If a motorist parks their vehicle for five hours or more, nothing remains of the deposit.

A receipt is printed as a record of the transaction, and handed to the motorist.

The cards, which have a Bank Artha Graha logo printed on them, can be bought at outlets set up in the five areas the system has been implemented. The initial cost of the card is Rp 10,000 and purchasers can specify how much they want to have programmed on the card, and are able to refill it once the amount is spent.

Opponents of the system said that the scheme would not help ease the capital's traffic woes and has little hope in succeeding where other parking systems have failed.

Critics have also said the administration could do better by imposing a policy that would significantly reduce the number of cars on city streets instead of implementing a system that encourages on-street parking, which worsens traffic problems in Jakarta.
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