Parking attendants hit hardest by fee increase
Updated: 2011-05-26 07:58
By Cang Wei (China Daily)
Since Beijing raised its parking fees on April 1, parking attendant Yin Liang's life has become even harder.
The 53-year-old, who has been working in Beijing for six years, moved from Zhangjiakou in North China's Hebei province to Beijing, with his 12-year-old son.
"As a single father, bringing up my son is very important to me, but now it's become more difficult for me to play bread winner."
Yin says fewer cars can be seen in the parking lot after Beijing started charging much higher parking fees in non-residential areas to reduce the number of cars on overcrowded roads.
For parking lots inside the Third Ring Road, the fee has been raised from 2 yuan to 10 yuan ($1.5) an hour for the first hour and 15 yuan for each additional hour, from 7 am to 9 pm.
Yin often finds himself sitting on a low stool on one side of the road, watching people, bicycles and cars pass by.
"Now I can only collect about 100 yuan a day," he says. "Every month, after handing over 1,500 to the fee-collecting company, I have less than 2,000 yuan left, which is about 500 yuan less than before."
With that income, Yin can hardly afford a rented apartment in the area where he works, and is forced to rent a room in the suburbs for 200 yuan a month.
To save 2 yuan for a bus ride from his rented place to his parking lot downtown, every morning Yin rides his bicycle for an hour and 40 minutes.
Yin says he also faces a more hostile work environment.
"Some drivers fly into a rage when they hear how much they have to pay," he says. "Sometimes they shout at me saying, 'Are you trying to rob us?' I cannot but feel sad at such times."
He says he doesn't like quarrelling and has let three angry drivers in April go without paying the fees.
According to statistics collected by Gonglian Shunda Parking Management Company, more than 30 parking attendants reported violent abuse from drivers in Beijing within the first month of the fee increases, which exceed the number of such cases for the whole of last year.
Yin works through the week. Every morning he is up at 5, and he works from 7 am to 9 pm. He says he feels really sorry for his son, because he has no time to make him a meal.
"I don't ask for much from life. What I want is to work harder to earn more money, so that I can raise my son well," he says. "I really need money for my son's further education, but now I scarcely earn enough to make ends meet.
"You know, my boy is doing quite well in school," he adds with a smile.
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