In a bid to decongest city roads, at least 14 malls in Mumbai may soon allow non-visiting motorists to park their private vehicles in their parking lots at subsidised rates.
The decision to approach the management of the 14 malls was taken during a meeting of the Mumbai Parking Authority (MPA) on Saturday. The MPA was formed with the sole purpose of decongesting city roads.
According to Regional Transport Office (RTO) data, there are 12 lakh four-wheelers and 24 lakh two-wheelers registered in the city. The available parking space, however, is far from adequate.
On a typical weekday, the occupancy of a mall’s parking facility is less than 50 percent even as roads outside are littered with illegally parked vehicles.
The MPA has asked malls to allow private vehicles to use their facility during weekdays and during nights at nominal rates, which would result in more revenue for them and open roads for the rest.
The MPA has identified the following malls for the pilot project – Star Mall (Dadar), Nakshatra Mall (Dadar), CR 2 Mall (Nariman Point), City Centre Mall (Nagpada), Atria Mall (Worli), Palladium Mall (Parel), K Star Mall (Chembur), R City Mall (Ghatkopar), Infinity Mall (Andheri West), D Mart Shopping (Mulund), Oberoi Mall (Goregaon), Marks and Spencer (Bandra) and Hub Mall (Goregaon).
Of these, two have reportedly agreed to reduce their parking fees to bring it at par with that of BMC’s parking lots, while talks with the rest are underway. Depending on the success, the MPA will approach more malls in the coming days.
“The idea is to create adequate parking space and educate residents to utilise it and move motorists from on-road to off-road. But people will have to pay for space. It will require both education and enforcement,” Gautam Chatterjee, chairman of MPA told The Indian Express.
“Once people move from roads to the parking lots, then that street or vicinity can be called parking-free. But it’s a long process where the first step is to provide adequate infrastructure,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mumbai traffic police have made parking within a vicinity of 100 metres of malls a punishable offense and started enforcing the rule near a dozen malls that were notified about the move earlier this year.
The rule, notably, does not apply to buses, autos and taxi stands. However, private vehicle owners who violate the rule will be prosecuted under the Motor Vehicles Act.
In addition to malls, the MPA is also looking at leveraging free parking spaces at other commercial units like warehouses or garages to create a parking pool.
Going forward, all parking spaces available in civic parking lots or such parking pools will be mapped and linked to a common database, which will be used by the BMC to show realtime availability of empty parking spaces near a motorist’s location.