Monday, February 12, 2007

Cashing in on Bangalore's parking woes

While Bangaloreans fret and fume over the lack of parking space, city administrators, unable to offer any workable solution, look the other way. Saturday evenings are the worst in the city centre -- every parking lot is chock-a-block with vehicles.

In these moments of ordeal, some security guards of multi-storeyed complexes have found an ingenious opportunity to make a fast buck. After office hours, they offer basements or the pavements (that are usually not open to the general public) for parking, at a price of course.

The rates are arbitrary and depend on a variety of factors including the supply-demand economics: bigger the crowd, the higher the rate. It also could depend on the financial status of the security guard at that moment. If he has had a lot of cash flowing in, probably you could be lucky to get away with as little as Rs 10 or Rs 15. But of course, you may have to shell out more if you bring in a swank limousine.

Some guards have ingenious ways of measuring the urgency of the vehicle owner. Already having gone around a few circles, the annoyed drivers, wouldn't mind being asked a few questions like: "Where are you going, when will you come back?" From the answers and body language, the guards make a quick assessment and charge accordingly; the rates sometimes as high as Rs 40.

Call this a creative business model or exploitation of hapless citizens, but surely city administrators can learn a few lessons: turn vacant public lands into paid parking zones; work out win-win business models with private parties who have space to let out.

Over to commissioner K Jairaj and administrator Dilip Rau.

(Published in Salt and Pepper column of The Times of India, Bangalore, today)

1 comment:

  1. Cannot Imagine ,what will happen to people staying in Bangalore and people coming to bangalore for finding jobs after 3 to 4 years. One can really feel the population or rather vechicle explosion in real in Bangalore.