Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Motorcycles overcharged for parking

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

South Asia and Indonesia seem especially to charge motorcycles too much to park relative to cars*.

At this mall in Palembang motorcycles cost Rp2,000 while cars cost Rp3,000 to park. (Rp3,000 is about US 30 cents) Although many Indonesian cities have government-controlled prices for their shopping malls, Palembang is an exception with market prices in its shopping centres. The price in the nearby streets is Rp1,000 for motorcycles and Rp2,000 for cars. 

Based on the space used, paying half the car price is way too much for motorcycles.

Of course, we might be wary of encouraging motorised two-wheelers too much. Motorcycle use is risky. And, despite low fuel consumption, they may actually be worse than cars for local air pollution problems, as in Hanoi. But parked motorcycles are certainly much more space efficient than parked cars.

How much more space efficient?  As I said in the Parking Policy in Asian Cities report:
A lower bound is suggested by Western norms of about 3–5 motorcycles in one car space, but in practice in the Asian cities studied the answer is much higher at between 4.5 and 10. Singapore’s parking standards ... suggest that between 4.6 and 6 motorcycle spaces take the same area as a car space... In India, motorcycle spaces are assumed to take 0.16 of an equivalent car space (ECS), suggesting a little over 6 two-wheelers per car space ... Viet Nam’s parking standards suggest ... about 8–10 motorcycle spaces per car space.

And most of these numbers don't seem to take account of aisles, which can be very narrow within motorcycle-only parking areas. So parking Asia's small motorcycles may be even more space efficient than these numbers suggest.

A motorcycle-only parking area in Ahmedabad's walled city area. 

Does it seem unreasonable that parking fees should be proportional to the area used by each vehicle type?

Isn't it obviously unfair to ask motorcycle users to cross-subsidize the parking of car users? Car owners are typically much wealthier than motorcycle users, especially in Indonesia and South Asia.

* Of course, both motorcycles AND cars may be under-priced based on other criteria, but that is another story.

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