The Greater Chennai Corporation’s seven-storey multi-level car park in T. Nagar began functioning on Friday.
Located at the Theagaraya Road-Thanikachalam Road junction, the facility evoked poor response from vehicle users, including two-wheeler riders who preferred to park on the street.
With the civic body keeping it a low-key affair, there seemed to be lack of awareness about the facility being thrown open to the public. Even a parking attendant in Panagal Park was unaware of it. A scooterist, who parked his vehicle in front of the Pondy Bazaar police station, said, “I have work on this side of the road. I would rather park here.”
A parking attendant in the area said she tried to persuade vehicle users to use the facility but many wanted to complete their chore quickly and leave.
At the car parking complex, six attendants have been posted to help park cars.
Built at a cost of ₹40.79 crore, the complex can accommodate 317 cars and 418 two-wheelers at a time, with separate entry and exit gates and boom barriers. The lifts that carry the vehicles can be accessed only through access cards and are controlled from a CCTV-enabled control room. An official said 56 cameras had been installed in the parking lot.
A car owner wanted to park his vehicle all by himself. When the attendants told him that there were sensors and only they were allowed access, he drove away.
However, those who used the facility were happy about the system. R.S. Mani of Medavakkam, who had come with his family, found it a novel experience. He was surprised at the ease with which the process was completed.
“I thought they will sit in the car and take it up to the lot. I was worried about them retaining the key. But they returned it to me,” he said. A user said it took just 90 seconds to park or remove the vehicle.
Baskaran, an employee at a garment shop in Pondy Bazaar who commutes from Perambur, said: “They are charging ₹5 per hour. I work 10 hours a day. I will end up spending ₹1,500 on parking alone for a month. It is unaffordable. The shop owner said he will work out a way to ensure that we employees get a pass.”
“No one can enter the parking lot as it is fully automated. In case of malfunction, a mechanic alone can access it,” said an official.
The road stretch connecting Lakshmikanthan Street and Theagaraya Road has been taken over to facilitate easy parking access. “The access has to be cut as otherwise there will be problems for vehicle users,” the official said.