Areas abutting PPLs will become expensive parking zones

As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's first experiment with a privately constructed public parking lot (PPL) failed to garner the expected response, the civic body is tweaking its new parking policy to push more vehicles off the city streets.

The Apollo Mills parking lot in Lower Parel is the first PPL constructed for BMC by Lodha Builders under the revised Development Control Regulations (DCR) section 33 (24). Initially, it received an encouraging response after it was opened in June. However, the number of vehicles being parked here has dwindled since then.

The five-storeyed structure has a capacity for roughly 650 vehicles at a time. It, however, functions at just about 30 per cent occupancy, say BMC officials. "The parking lot has not taken off as well as we would have liked. We are reworking our policy to attract more vehicles to these PPLs," said additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas.

Since the inauguration of the parking lot, a roughly 1-km stretch on N M Joshi Marg from Ganacharya Chowk to Currey Road station has been declared no-parking zone. Even this move has failed to encourage parking at the PPL, BMC officials admit.

"We don't have enough manpower to ensure that vehicles are not parked at no-parking zones. So, we have decided to turn the areas adjoining PPLs into parking zones where the fees for parking will be exorbitant. The rate for these streets will be at least thrice the amount charged for using the PPL," Srinivas said.

As part of the introductory scheme for three months at the Apollo Mills lot, for the first eight hours of the day, users can park vehicles for free. Thereafter, a charge of Rs 15 is levied for an additional hour and an extra Rs 5 for every hour after that.

According to civic data, though the PPL was officially opened on June 24, a few users had begun parking vehicles from June 10 itself. The BMC expected the PPL to receive 19,500 vehicles, and earn a minimum of over Rs 2 crore per month. For the first month, the lot had 4,364 vehicles and earned roughly Rs 32,231. The response continued to swell in July, when the BMC earned Rs 86,526 from 9,857 vehicles. However, from August to September 6, the PPL's occupancy dipped to 5,314 vehicles and earnings fell below Rs 70,000.

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