Monday, November 07, 2016

Linking Parking Fees to Air Quality Index !!

Upon the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) order, the city banned the registration of diesel-engine-powered vehicles (for some time) and introduced an additional sales tax on diesel vehicles at the time of registration. Both the measures are applicable for newer vehicles only. The NGT also introduced an additional environmental tax for heavy-duty trucks entering the city; this does not include vehicles registered in Delhi and not crossing the border. The city also experimented with the odd-even concept (twice, for two weeks each time, with a number of exemptions) – which in turn is very dependent on a vigilant traffic police to be completely successful.

These measures were introduced and tested for one reason: to discourage the use of personal transport. However, one measure that could be applicable for old/new vehicles, petrol/diesel/gas engines and all engine sizes is the parking fee. Delhi has the lowest parking fees (often Rs 10-20 per hour) in the world. What if, the parking fees were increased tenfold – especially during the days of high air pollution? Take the malls, for example: every car parked there has to go through a toll booth and, without excuse, has to pay.

A fee-structure can be displayed outside the malls’ parking lots with that days’ air quality index (AQI). If the AQI is under 50 (green – very rare in Delhi), then parking is free. And as the AQI climbs, so does the fee. If the value is 500, then parking rate could just as well be Rs 500 per hour. Consider it a charge for spending time in the air-conditioned mall! Similarly, for those parking illegally, the towing fees should be increased further.

Read the full article - what it means to taking the long view on air pollution in Delhi

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