Penang’s smart parking system all good after early hiccups

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at the launch of the Penang Smart Parking system at China Street Ghaut, George Town, in August

GEORGE TOWN: The once problematic Penang Smart Parking (PSP) system is a thing of the past as the kinks have been ironed out.

Executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo said the company entrusted with the management of the state’s 36,000 council-owned parking lots has given the assurance that all will work well.

He told a press conference that HeiTech Padu Berhad (HeiTech) will update its mobile app to be more user-friendly and teach car owners how to use the system.

The PSP system, which covers both the Penang Island and Seberang Perai city councils, requires all users to pay for parking via a smartphone app.

It also allows users to see which parking lots are vacant through the same app, with 1,031 sensors embedded in George Town and in Icon City, Bukit Mertajam, so far. More sensors will be installed by next July to cover all lots.

The system is meant to replace coupons but a small number of coupons will still be printed for those who are not IT-savvy enough to use the app. They are valid until Dec 31 next year.

Last month, frustrated users complained that the app was cumbersome and that some of them had received summonses even though they had paid through the app.

The car owners were also upset that the rollout of the app was available on Apple’s iOS platform while the Android version took a while to be launched.

HeiTech signed a deal with the Penang government in May and was granted a 65:35 profit-sharing agreement for the first five years (35% to the councils), dropping to 60:40 in the final two years.

The company signed a five-year concession with an option to renew for another two years, for all 36,000 parking bays.

The parking rate is 80 sen an hour for the island and 40 sen an hour in Seberang Perai.