In this time of pandemic, everyone from His Majesty The King granting various Kidus to ordinary citizens coming forward with donations, were all aimed at lightening the enormous economic impact of COVID-19 on our society and people.
However, at such a time Thimphu Thromde and its elected representatives decided to go ahead and arbitrarily increase the parking fees by a huge amount. The increase will hurt as it is on top of already high parking fees.
There is no public interest in this hike at all and instead only a few parking fee contractors will benefit.
The first claim is that this increase in revenue will head to the Thromde to improve its services.
But a RAA reports shows that of the 145 mn revenue generated from around 1,500 parking slots every year only around Nu 20 mn goes to the Thromde with Nu 125 mn staying with two private parking fee contractors.
So the bulk of this increase will again favour the private parking operators over Thromde revenue.
The 25 percent increase in rates means this collection now goes to around Nu 180 mn.
Importantly this vacuuming of Nu 180 mn is from Thimphu residents and businesses who can ill afford to part with it at a time when people and businesses are still reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
A key aim by Thromde for the hike is to encourage off street parking and parking in the two MLCPs as opposed to on street parking.
One fails to see the logic here as the aim of the MLCPs was not to replace the on street parking along Norzin Lam, Sabzi Bazar etc. The MLCPs was supposed to add to this capacity given the increase in number of vehicles every year.
The Thromde also plans to enforce paid parking all the way from Taba to Changzamtog to Olakha where residents mainly park along the road.
This will hit the pockets of Thimphu residents even more as they will have to pay for both a trip to town and keeping their cars parked at home.
One wonders how elected local government representatives are so insensitive towards its residents.
“The power to tax is the power to destroy.”– John Marshall