Finding a metered parking space in Hong Kong is not easy. After all, the scarcity of parking spots did not happen overnight. So, the Transport Department (TD) announced that 12,000 new parking meters have been installed in phases since January 2021 - 1,500 new parking meters will cover all 18 districts of Hong Kong in the first phase. As of July 2021, a total of 4,345 new parking meters are now in service. TD predicts that it will finish replacing all parking meters with new ones by the first half of 2022. TD will also push out a mobile application named "HKeMeter" to complement the new meters. With this, you'll be able to pay the parking meter at a distance. Today at Kwiksure, we'll teach you how to register and use the new HKeMeter app.
Features and functions of the new parking meters in Hong Kong
The new parking meters in Hong Kong carry out the following functions:
1. They support payment of parking fees through multiple means.
Besides the existing option to pay with your Octopus card, they also support 12 other payment methods:
- Contactless credit cards (i.e., Visa payWave, MasterCard Contactless, and UnionPay QuickPass)
- Faster Payment System (FPS)
- WeChat Pay
- Union QR
2. They support on-site and remote payment of parking fees through HKeMeter.
The parking meter's 'longest parking period for each transaction' is fixed at 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. At most, you can only remotely renew this 'longest parking period for each transaction' (including your initial parking fee payment) once. For instance, a 2-hour transaction can only be extended to a maximum of 4 hours. After which, you must pay your fees at the parking meter in person. With the same registered account, you can park for up to 24 hours maximum.
3. They come equipped with sensors that use millimeter-wave radar technology to detect whether a parking space is occupied.
This provides useful, real-time information to help you find empty parking spaces. You can also search for relevant information on the HKeMeter app, HKeMobility app (both the mobile and web versions), and the Data.gov.hk website.
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How to pay your parking fees with HKeMeter
- After parking, press the left or right arrow button to choose the parking space on the parking meter.
- Press the button with a plus sign to select a parking time.
- Press the QR code button for payment by QR code. Then, the meter will display a QR code.
- Scan the QR code with the HKeMeter app to begin payment.
- After your payment, your cellphone will automatically connect to the parking meter to facilitate remote payment.
- If you need to extend your parking time, open HKeMeter to its payment page. Select 'Extend' and then choose your parking time before paying once again.
New parking meters in Hong Kong have been criticized for their large-scale malfunctions
While the new meter comes with more functionality than the old ones, there have been large-scale malfunctions in January and July 2021.
According to a number of media outlets, the new parking meters didn't sync properly with HKeMeter. In addition, its speed in updating information on real-time parking space availability is inconsistent. Sometimes, even the wrong information shows up on the app! An old meter being seen as the new meter, and an occupied space being mistakenly displayed as vacant are two examples.
Potential to abuse the new system
Netizens worry that some will use multiple phone cards to extend their parking time remotely. Not only will the app not alleviate parking space scarcity, but it will also increase instances of hoarding. Still, others believe that instead of increasing the number of parking meters, bumping up the amount of parking spaces, or reducing the number of car licenses awarded are more effective.
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