Kolkata: Starting September 1, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is transforming its designated parking lots into taxi stands. These free of-cost facilities are expected to bring down the refusal rate significantly as parking facilities would ensure minimum idle runs for cabbies and even make shorter runs profitable.To hold taxi operators accountable, the civic body is planning to bring every parking lot under CCTV surveillance. The camera feed will be shared with local traffic police guard to rein in errant cabbies. This apart, introduction of hand-held parking meters will also keep private vehicles and parking lot operators on their toes.
Announcing the plan to introduce these meters by September, Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said the device will bring transparency and make sure that there is no or little pilferage in the collection of parking fees by agencies.“Each parking facility would accommodate at least two taxis and at best six taxis, depending on the size of the lot.But more taxis will be accommodated if they are closer to market or hospital so that people get taxis without hassle,“ said the Kolkata Mayor after a meeting with principal secretary (transport), the KMC Commissioner, the PVD director and other officials.
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“Since a majority of parking lots are at prime locations, passengers can avail taxis easily. Idle run of taxis leave cabbies bleeding and force them to look for long-distance passengers so that their idle runs get compensated. But this practice is expected to stop now.Also, there will be better signage and clear marking of each slot so that more cars are not packed into parking lots. A recent survey by KMC revealed that vehicles nearly three to four times of the designated figure get parked. Parking meters can be used to integrate on-street parking policy.
KMC will also go for construction of vertical automated parking lots in PPP model. The government has agreed for viability gap funding. Besides, the civic body will relay the road leading to Behala Flying Club as the motor-training hub of the public vehicle department, which will have test tracks of international standard, is coming up there.