Ten days after Phuentsholing thromde inaugurated its multi-car park, the three-storied parking area has not been able to attract many vehicles.
Although the town is crowded with a huge number of vehicles, often congesting and disrupting the traffic, the second and the third floors of the parking building remain empty most of the time.
At 4 pm yesterday, the building had just 20 cars, 10 each on the ground and the first floor.
The multi-car park has a capacity to accommodate 202 cars. The parking fee is Nu 10 an hour, cheaper than Nu 30 an hour in the core town area.
A Bolero driver, Pratap Mongar, who had parked his vehicle for five hours yesterday, said the facility is providing service at an affordable price.
He said it was the second time he parked his vehicle at the new parking area.
“I pay Nu 30 to park my vehicle at the Lower Market,” he said. “But the building looks empty as there are not many vehicles parked.”
Although 64 parking slots have been provided for taxis in the new car park, taxi drivers have not started parking as of yesterday.
A local taxi driver, Kezang, said the multicar park doesn’t make sense for those who drive just around the town for business. Today, the local taxis are allowed to park at the previous vegetable market, free of cost.
“As of now, we are okay here and we have not been told to park in the new building,” he said.
Meanwhile, there are also those taxis that come from different places and park at the RSTA parking lot. These taxis also park without paying any fees.
“So far we have not been given the new parking building,” a taxi driver from Thimphu said. “Maybe, we will be asked to park from February.”
Another taxi driver, Karma, said there is a difference between those taxis that do long tours with Phuentsholing as the base and those taxis that come to the town temporarily.
“We stay here most of the time and it would be expensive for us compared to those who just make halts,” he said.
Karma suggested that a card system would solve the problem for those staying in Phuentsholing and making long tours.
Phuentsholing thrompon, Uttar Kumar Rai, said that the multi-car parking was recently opened and that it would take some time.
“Opening the car park was the first thing and we need to give enough time for people to know about it,” he said, adding that with the opportunity open now, people would eventually come.
He also said the taxis parking at the RSTA would also be asked to park in the new infrastructure.
Thromde has also identified three areas, Zangtogpelri, Deki Lane, and Gadoe Lam, in core town area from where 150 parking spaces would be lifted. However, since these areas are in core areas in the town, shoppers would be allowed 10 minutes time to load and unload.
The parking lot is constructed at a cost of Nu 65 million (M).
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing