Penang’s smart parking hits a snag, leaves local councils furious

The Penang Smart Parking app being shown on an iPhone at China Street Ghaut, George Town. The app, which was launched on Sunday, is not working as it should.

GEORGE TOWN: The two local councils in Penang are upset with a Subang Jaya-based company over a snag in its Smart Parking system which took off two days ago.

The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) said the installation of sensors on parking lots, which would relay the availability of car parks to a smartphone app, had yet to be completed. There were also bugs in the app, they said.

HeiTech Padu Berhad (HeiTech) was supposed to have installed sensors on 647 council parking lots in the state on Aug 18, but to date only 30 have been installed – all on the island and none on the mainland.

HeiTech will undertake the RM115 million private financing initiative to manage 36,000 of the state’s local council lots by August next year. It has also been given a 65:35 profit sharing pact for the first five years (35% to the councils), dropping to 60:40 in the final two years. The company signed a seven-year concession with the two councils in May.

“We are disappointed that the contract’s terms were not met. Furthermore, there are issues in the system,” MBPP mayor Yew Tung Seang and MPSP president Rozali Mohamud said at a press conference today.

HeiTech executive vice-president Abdul Halim Md Lassim admitted there were a few glitches in the Penang Smart Parking mobile app and apologised for the inconvenience caused.

He, however, did not comment over the sensor installation issue raised by the local council chiefs.

Halim said since the launch last Sunday (Aug 18), 11,000 motorists had registered using the app, which is only available on Apple iOS devices for the time being.

Halim said the first 10,000 app users on Google’s Android phones would receive RM5 free credit once it was made available. He did not specify a timeline.

Those with issues or feedback can ring the Penang Smart Parking support at 03-8026-8128 or email [email protected] The app can be downloaded at psp.penang.my.

Separately, a woman who parked her car in the Little India area in George Town and used the Smart Parking system to pay her parking fees received a rude shock after seeing a summons from the MBPP.

“I told all my office colleagues that this system is convenient as I do not need to scratch coupons in a hurry. And at the end of the day, I see a RM30 summons from the city council. It is a disappointment,” she said.

When approached, a MBPP parking enforcement officer, who did not want to be named, said the enforcement officers were yet to be supplied with the handheld gadgets to determine who had paid through the Smart Parking system.

“We just got the devices today, so we now know who has paid, and who hasn’t. As for the lady’s complaint, she can lodge a report with the council,” the officer said.