A total of 306 underground slots at Sichuan Road N. Park in Hongkou District have been converted to "sharing parking spaces." (Ti Gong)
Shanghai government has launched a "sharing parking spaces" scheme in downtown in a trial run.
Hongkou District's transport authority has converted 306 underground parking spaces at Sichuan Road N. Park where residents and office workers will stagger their hours to park their vehicles.
The spaces beneath the one of the most popular downtown commercial streets are available for people working at nearby offices and shoppers during the day, while opening up for residents at night.
A WeChat account (Phtons-Parking) has been developed where drivers can check the availability of spaces and pay a fee.
"It used to be a headache to find a parking slot on the busy Sichuan Road N. during the day, but the task becomes easier now with the opening of these sharing spaces," said a driver surnamed Teng, who often needs to deliver business documents to a company along the road.
The Hongkou government has identified a total of 650 parking slots beneath office buildings, near hospitals and within communities, which can be made sharing parking spaces, an official with the district transport commission said.
"The trial service on Sichuan Road N. has proved to be popular as the sharing parking slots are often fully booked," the official said. More such parking resources will be opened across Hongkou, he said.
The city had 3.3 million locally registered cars by the end of 2016. More than 75 percent of vehicles are for private use, according to the city's transport commission. In contrast, it is estimated there are about 640,000 parking slots in downtown residential communities. The parking problem is even more severe in old residential communities such as those in Hongkou, one of the largest downtown residential regions.
Shanghai Transport Commission plans to open up another 50 sharing parking spaces. About 30,000 sharing parking slots will be opened across the city by 2020, according to the commission.
These will be developed at shopping malls, companies, schools and hospitals with monthly fees cheaper than normal parking.
"I pay 350 yuan (US.5) per month to rent a sharing parking space at a commercial plaza near my community. I can use it between 5:30pm and 9am as well as during holidays," said a resident surnamed Huang who lives in a community on Wending Road in Xuhui District, which is also taking part in the trial. The hourly parking charge is about 10 yuan for the area where Huang lives.
The scheme also benefits commercial plazas because their vacant parking spaces at night are now being used.
Over 30 vehicles are parked at the sharing parking spaces overnight every day, accounting for half the capacity, according to a property management company official at the shopping plaza where Huang parks his car.
The city government has also opened some 50 night parking areas along local streets in response to demand for more places to park at night. About 1,500 cars are allowed on quieter streets from 6:30pm to 7am on weekdays as well as at weekends and holidays. The fee is around 5 yuan a night, but drivers face heavy fines if they fail to drive away on time.