It’s never easy to be a car owner in Shanghai. After surviving trials like passing the driving test and obtaining a license plate, you then have yet to conquer another obstacle, parking.
According to statistics, at the end of 2017 the number of locally registered cars in Shanghai surpassed 3.41 million, however there are only 640,000 parking spaces available in downtown areas. The task of finding a park becomes even harder in old residential communities like Hongkou District, where the spaces are extremely limited.
After public consultation to try and solve the problem, the district’s transport commission has implemented a new scheme and made the parking lot beneath the North Sichuan Road Park available for sharing. A total of 306 parking spaces have been opened up to help meet the demand of residents and office workers.
Car owners can use the service through WeChat platform ‘Phtons-Parking,’ where they can check availability of parking spaces and make an advance booking.
“To find an available parking space was like finding a needle in a haystack,” complains Teng, who often goes to North Sichuan Road for business. “Now all I need to do is to rent a space in advance. It is a huge relief!”
Since the debut of the shared parking spaces, numerous office workers and residents like Teng have been benefited. “The spaces are often fully booked. Together there are 650 parking spaces available for sharing within Hongkou District. Maybe it’s time to open up the rest of them,” advised one of the officials at the transport commission.
It’s certainly positive news to hear that Shanghai has listed shared parking spaces on its future government projects. By the year 2020, Shanghai Transport Commission will open 50 additional carparks across the city, providing approximately 30,000 spaces for sharing.
Despite the seemingly promising prospect, not all citizens feel optimistic about the project. “How will they ensure the car owner will drive his car off when the time is up?” asks one of the netizens. Moreover, the additional labor cost has become another difficulty looming over the program.
It still remains to be seen whether the sharing scheme can truly ease the parking difficulties and become a success in the city, but at the very least it’s a step in the right direction to try and find a solution to this ever-growing problem.