Palembang app to check the legitimacy of on-street parking attendants
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Brief summary of this reform
The city government has prepared a smartphone app to enable motorists to check if any on-street parking attendant has the legal authority to collect parking fees by scanning a QR code on the attendants' identity badge. This app is an effort to slightly improve oversight of on-street parking fee collection system in Palembang. But the fee-collection system has profound problems and really needs a much bigger shake-up than this small step.
Why should you care?
Indonesian cities have on-street parking fees but are mostly unable to use them for any kind of effective parking management. Instead they merely collect a small amount of rent from on-street parking. This is done in an extremely leakage-prone way by contracting out very short sections of street to individuals who are given a permission letter to manually collect cash parking fees on that street section. There are numerous problems with this. The app described in this case suggests some effort to improve the situation but only a very small one.
Key actor type
City of Palembang
Palembang Transportation Bureau (Dinas Perhubungan Kota Palembang)
Is it a model or a warning?
Main parking category
Main parking paradigm shift
On-street in mainly commercial streets
Unknown or unclear or not applicable or other
Adaptive Parking thrust
P: Price parking in the right ways and with the right rates for each place and time
Goals of the reform
The main goal seems to be to discourage illegal parking attendants (who lack the proper letter of authority from the city government) from attempting to collect parking fees in the street. A less clearly spelled out goal may be to reduce rent seeking by intermediaries.
Secondary goals seem to be to provide information to the city government on parking fee collection activities in the city, especially in locations where no legitimate parking attendants have been given permission.
Impetus (what problem, campaign, opportunity or event prompted action?)
The main impetus seems to be community unhappiness over illegal parking attendants and concern that the city has been losing revenue because illegal parking attendants have been collecting informal fees in various locations that were not sanctioned by the city. News reports also mentioned the possibility that some officials have corruptly enabled the illegal attendant activities.
Detailed description of the reform
The Transport Bureau of the Palembang city government has prepared a smartphone app to enable motorists to check if any on-street parking attendant actually has the legal authority to collect parking fees by scanning a QR code on the attendants' identity badge.
The idea is that motorists should refuse to pay if the attendant lacks proper authority.
The app is called Sistem Informasi Aplikasi Perparkiran Palembang (Palembang Parking Application Information System) (SIAPP).
This app is an effort to slightly improve the oversight of the on-street parking fee collection system in Palembang.
Unfortunately, this is only a very small change to a system that is fundamentally ill-suited to providing effective parking management via on-street pricing. The on-street parking fee collection system needs much bigger improvements than this small step.
On-street parking fees in Palembang (as in most Indonesian cities) are collected by parking attendants (‘juru parkir’ or jukir). That is not very unusual internationally.
But it is unusual that the attendants are engaged by the city government under a system of individual contracts for each attendant’s tiny patch (the short stretch of street that one attendant can handle). Each little patch is associated with an attendant licence or permission letter (‘surat izin’). In theory, this piece of paper entitles only the attendant and two named assistants to collect parking fees on this patch. They get an official vest, which would be orange in Palembang.
This new app MAY perhaps be an effort to crack down on the problem that most of actual parking attendants out in the streets and their assistants were NOT the people as listed on the licenses. Allegedly, in the past, many of the people with the formal permission letters were in practice ‘preman’ (gangsters perhaps) who engaged in rent-seeking by holding the permission letters then sub-contracting the fee collection to others. Reducing the involvement of these preman would decrease revenue leakage.
However, this app alone seems unlikely to be able to do much to change the situation.
Results or impacts
It is too soon to know if this app will actually be used much by motorists or have any impact on the illegal parking attendants or the problem of intermediaries (preman).
Sources and acknowledgements
Palembang Luncurkan Aplikasi Parkir dengan QR Code (Palembang Launches Parking Application with QR Code), Feb. 2020, https://kominfo.palembang.go.id/2020/02/13/palembang-luncurkan-aplikasi-parkir-dengan-qr-code/
Paul Barter, 23 May 2012, "Gangsters" in Indonesian parking, https://www.reinventingparking.org/2012/05/gangsters-in-indonesian-parking.html
Fika Fawzia, 2 January 2012, “Terus-Men” – Parking in Jakarta"
23 Mar 2021