The new parking lot in Beijing's Tongzhou district has 64 spaces and is located near a hospital. Image: Yang Kejia / China News Service
A multistory parking lot that can be accessed by mobile phone app is expected to open in Beijing before the end of the month.
Similar parking lots may be introduced across the city to relieve serious traffic congestion and a severe shortage of parking spaces, according to the operator.
The new lot, located near a hospital in Tongzhou district, will provide 64 parking spaces. It is fully automatic and drivers can complete the process of locating parking spaces, parking their cars and retrieving them by accessing a mobile phone app.
Few of the multistory lots in Beijing are operated automatically, causing difficulties for drivers using them, according to media reports.
A technician demonstrates how to operate the parking machine at the new lot. Image: Yang Kejia / China News Service
There were 2.9 million parking spaces for motor vehicles in Beijing by the end of 2014, but 3.8 million were needed, and there were more than 5.5 million motor vehicles in Beijing by the end of last year. Severe traffic congestion and a lack of parking spaces has been a serious problem, according to transportation authorities in the capital.
"The new lot will provide each parking space with a charging pole for electric cars and fees at the lot will be similar to or even lower than those at nearby lots, at about 4 yuan (60 US cents) an hour during the day", said Ma Limin, chairman of Beijing Easy Parking Static Transport Investment Co.
The company are considering negotiating with government departments in other districts to build more such lots in Beijing, so that 500,000 parking spaces can be provided.
Chen Yanyan, a professor of transportation studies at Beijing University of Technology, said, "Such intelligent multistory parking lots can be useful in many places such as old residential areas, where it is difficult to build underground lots.
"If the new lot is well received, it may be adopted in some other areas of Beijing." Chen also said the supply of parking spaces in crowded central urban areas should be restricted to discourage the use of cars to ease serious congestion.
The new parking lot has passed an initial inspection by the district authority.