KUALA LUMPUR • Over three million cars enter Kuala Lumpur's central business district daily, causing massive traffic jams, said the capital city's mayor, Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz.
To encourage people to take public transport, including the recently expanded light rail transit (LRT) line, he has raised by 75 per cent to 200 per cent parking rates in CBD carparks operated by KL City Hall.
The move is expected to have a cascading effect as carpark rates in office blocks and malls in the sprawling city are also raised.
The mayor's plan was greeted with howls of protest from many people who are struggling with escalating costs, including recent hikes in highway tolls.
"We want to free up as many street parking spaces in the city and encourage people to take public transport or carpool to the city," said Mr Mohd Amin.
"I know I am going to be very unpopular, but it has to be done because traffic in Kuala Lumpur is already bursting at the seams."
The affected areas include those popular with tourists, including Singaporeans who drive up north, such as the Bukit Bintang shopping district, and high-end residential and commercial hubs Bangsar, Damansara Heights and Solaris Mont Kiara.
KL City Hall owns 46,100 metered parking bays, with 22 per cent or 9,914 lots in the CBD.
Where a motorist previously paid 80 sen (27 Singapore cents) for the first hour of parking, he must now pay RM2 - a 150 per cent jump.
The rate for the second and subsequent hours has been doubled to RM3 an hour.
The government early this month opened 25 new LRT stations in Greater KL that serve the city centre in a bid to encourage more people to use public transport.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK