Chhimi Dema

Thimphu City is grappling with lack of parking spaces; the two multi-level car parks (MLCP) have been empty most of the time since it opened last year.

MLCP I located at Phendey Lam near the Zangthopelri complex has 350 parking spaces out of which only about 40 slots are occupied in a day.

An employee at MLCP I,  Kumar Subba, said that some people who have to park for long hours choose to park by the roadside.

“If they park outside for long hours, when the parking fee collector is not there, they escape.”

He said that MLCP I saw more cars after the commercial spaces were occupied.

A driver who parks his car at the parking lot said that it was hard to find a parking space on Norzin Lam. “I find it convenient to park here [MLCP I].”

Manager Jamyang Tenzin said that people do not park in the MLCPs because they are not aware of it. “Some people are reluctant because they have to generate their tickets at the entrance.”

Business has doubled after the Bank of Bhutan moved to its new city office close to the MLCP II.

“Now, we earn from Nu 3,500 to Nu 4,500 a day. Before, we earned between Nu 1,500 and Nu 2,500.”

Clients visiting the banks said that having the multi-storey car park close to the bank has reduced the hassle of looking for parking space.

MLCP II, which is located near Thimphu Thromde office and has 222 car parking spaces, has about 170 cars park in a day these days, which is an increase by 50 vehicles compared to the previous months.

“People do not park their cars here because they think we charge higher than on the streets,” a MLCP II staff said.

Customers pay Nu 10 for every half an hour.

Both the MLCPs are monitored by closed-circuit television (CCTV) on all floors.