Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Fact of the Day: Increased Parking Tickets

Some people block the roads just so that they can get into their own vehicles
There have been many complaints about how the police don't do enough to ticket people who are illegally parked, resulting in lots of traffic congestion.

Just look at Chater Road in front of Prince's Building, or Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay during rush hour, where chauffeurs are picking up their masters and mistresses.

But now the police claim they have stepped up their work and are now issuing a parking ticket every 26 seconds.

That means they are issuing 3,379 a day, which projects to about 1.23 million this year.

This is a 15 percent increase compared to last year, where 2,930 tickets were issued daily on average, or 1.06 million tickets, while compared to 2013 it is a 21 percent increase, as 2,795 tickets were written per day or 1.02 million tickets in total.

In the first seven months of this year the police have issued 723,129 fixed penalty tickets.

Not only that, but the police are also supporting a suggested increase in the fixed penalty for illegal parking from HK$320 ($42) to HK$448. While it doesn't seem much, it is a 40 percent jump from 1994 levels when the penalty was last increased.

"This has to do with deterrence. If you get a ticket, and you think 'it is not a lot of money, I can afford it', then it is not achieving anything. That is wasting the time of the traffic wardens," says Mark Steeple, a superintendent from the transport branch.

"We want the traffic wardens to issue a ticket so that person can learn a lesson. I think it can increase, but it is not for us to say how much," he said.

While lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai of the NeoDemocrats and a member of the Legislative Council's transport panel said more carparks were needed, Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Tang Ka-piu, vice-chairman of the panel, said if the city's public transport system was better, fewer people would use their own cars.

Excuse me? If the public transport system was better?

Tang gives the impression of not using the public transport system at all. What more needs to be improved? The MTR is already one of the best in the world as it's clean, fast and efficient, buses are not bad and quite frequent, and there are also minibuses and taxis, and trams for those who are not in a hurry.

People buy private cars because they don't want to sit with the rest of us riff raff who can't afford it. That is their prerogative, but they must also pay the consequences if they park illegally. It's that simple really.

We say bring on the increase -- double it, or triple it even -- because these people who purchase vehicles can definitely afford even an HK$800 or HK$1,200 fine. Why not?

Then maybe we'll finally get rid of congestion on the roads...

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