Finding a parking space is like finding gold, says a city resident. His sentiment resonates with Mumbaikars, as they tackle this crunch in so many different ways, from parking on the road to not buying a car at all
Perhaps the most acute problem in this space-starved city is the paucity of parking spaces for car owners. From parking on roads, which leaves cars open to vandalism, to hiring pricey chauffeurs simply to avoid the pain of finding a parking space, Mumbaikars are finding different ways to tackle this problem.
UNDER THE TREE: Marine Drive parking lot has numerous cases of double parking which annoys many car owners who park here. PICS FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY
Yasin Ansari, Chembur resident, says, “I park my car in front of a shop near my building, as there is no other parking provision. Often, some mischievous children play pranks and puncture my car tyres. Also, recently I had to get my car repainted as someone vandalised it by drawing and writing on it.”
VEHICLE WORRY: Mohammad Ali Road has more parked cars at the curb, than those on the road, which adds to traffic woes
The 24-year-old further adds, “There isn’t much option when it comes to parking space as my area lanes get filled with cars before I return from work. I have tried staying awake to keep a watch on my car and stop people from damaging it but was unable to catch anyone.”
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Bandra resident Erika Pinto says, “I am a new car owner and since I live in a bungalow I have to park my car on the road, as there is no parking space in my front yard. The alternate day parking makes it difficult for me to park when I am out of town. I have to give my keys to my watchman to alternate the parking and avoid my car from being towed away.”
CAR POWER: The parking lot in Vile Parle is always full and so cars are parked on the road
“When I come home late from work, finding place to park is very troublesome. I have to park my car near Supari Talao which is some distance away from my house. Recently, someone double parked and ended up banging my car while trying to get out of the lot. This caused a dent on my car and I also got into a heated argument with the driver,” says Pinto.
Deepak Kapadia, Chairman of Road Safety Committee, Rotary Club of Bombay
Prakash Kute says, “Even though I have a car, I prefer using my bike due to parking issues. I have elderly parents, so when we go shopping; I have to take the car. I send them shopping and sit in the car so that it doesn’t get towed.”
Nitin Dossa, Executive Chairman, Western India Automobile Association
The Ghatkopar resident adds, “Even if I manage to get place to park, taking the car out after shopping is a problem as someone comes and double parks. Getting the car out from the parked space takes a lot of time.”
Yasin Ansari, Neera Arora, Karan Sikka, Prashant Kute, Bhaveesha Mehta and Erika Pinto
Hire a driver
To avoid parking woes, Powai resident Karan Sikka hires a driver every time he has to travel to South Mumbai for work. He says, “Finding a place to park is like finding gold. If I take a driver along, in case I don’t find parking he can take the car around. Also, if we park in a no-parking zone, when the towing van comes, he can take the car away. There was a time I had my car towed away and when I got it back, there were huge dents and scratches. I don’t mind the fines but the car damage is a huge cost to bear,” says Sikka.
Bhaveesha Patel who lives at Hirnandani in Powai says, “When I go shopping I always hire a driver. Parking space is very difficult to find in Bandra and Khar, where I normally go. So I hire a driver for a day to take me there.”
Patel says she always opts for a restaurant with valet parking when she dines out. “I never go to a restaurant that doesn’t have parking. Even if the food is good, I do not want to risk my car getting damaged or being towed away,” she adds.
Kandivali resident Neera Arora, who often goes shopping to Bandra, says, “Getting space to park at Hill Road and Linking Road is almost impossible, so I park near Pali Naka and take a rickshaw. There is no option as I need to park the car. When I am out with my sister-in-law, we take turns shopping while the other sits in the car.”
Due to parking problems, family shopping during the festive season was difficult for Arora. She says, “Getting a rickshaw is also not easy. With bags and boxes after shopping, despite having a car, the terrible parking scene has added to woes. The whole purpose of taking my car is defeated.”
Agreeing with Arora, Vinod Gupta, a businessman who prefers to car pool or use public transport, says, “Parking during festivals is worse than other times. I bought a car as I was fed up with the rickshaw drivers and their refusal. But now, the parking issues have made it tough for me. Often, in parking lots I have been over charged and had to go to the traffic police to sort out illegal receipt issues. A few of my friends and I now car pool.”
Problems and solutions
Nitin Dossa, Executive Chairman of the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) says, “Every week, from Monday to Friday, around 400 new cars are added to the streets of Mumbai. A lot of money is collected as tax for road safety and facilities but nothing much is done. I predict that in the next five years, mobility in the city will become a huge issue.”
Dossa adds, “The pay and park spaces in the city have become huge rackets. People often complain about having to pay more and say they don’t get receipts. The parking space under the Dadar flyover is one such place from where we have received a massive amount of complaints.”
Offering a solution to parking problems, Dossa suggests, “Multiple-storey car parks need to come up in more places. Railway stations should ideally have assigned parking space. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) needs to make it compulsory for every society to give two parking slots per family. The cars per family are increasing by the day, but the parking space is decreasing.”
Deepak Kapadia, Chairman of Road Safety Committee of the Rotary Club of Bombay adds, “The government did the right thing when they refused to give malls the license to open till they had sufficient car parking space. But when it comes to public parking there is a lot that is lacking. The parking spaces in Mumbai have reached their saturation point, there is no more space. This had lead to parking on the footpaths which is wrong and causes more inconvenience to pedestrians.”
“The best solution to the parking problem is for people in the city to limit themselves to one car per family. Many Mumbaikars have one car per person, this means that besides fuel being wasted, finding space to park these cars also becomes an issue,” ends Kapadia.