What’s the Deal With Parking Tickets

04_15_WTDWThe first concern for a new driver in China is rarely where to park, but as car ownership increases, finding a legal spot can be a headache. Especially, considering that there are no meters, and signage can be vague. In urban areas, most Chinese drivers know to park only in marked spots, however tough to find.

Sometimes, areas that prohibit parking are marked by a blue sign with a red ‘X.’ That doesn’t mean spots without them are safe. As declared by the PRC law, no-parking zones include areas cordoned off between roads and sidewalks, or any street side pavement that is not marked for cars.

Parking is also not allowed in front of construction sites, crosswalks, sharp curves or within 50 meters of streets, bridges and tunnels less than four meters wide. Then there are the regulations for within 30 meters of bus stops, first aid stations, gas stations, fire hydrants or fire department entrances. Don’t park there either.

Parking illegally is popular in Dongguan, so much so that it seems unregulated, with tickets rarely found on windshields. Meter maids, though few, do exist to patrol the city. These specially tasked traffic police are called the Mobile Squad, or jī dòng dà duì. Officer Ye of Nancheng’s traffic detachment claims, “We patrol all areas, go to different sections every day, on a different schedule daily.”

Parking fines can be as much as RMB 200 in Dongguan and should be paid before the annual registration of the vehicle’s license. Payment is a process of verifying the ticket with the traffic department and paying within 15 days. Should you miss these deadlines, a 2 percent fee will incur daily, up to half.

For pedestrians and cyclers, cars on the sidewalk can be problematic. To curb this issue, citizens can report illegal parking in certain areas. The numbers aren’t easy to find. The trick is to call a town or district’s traffic police to ask for a complaint hotline. For Nancheng, call 2303-6122; call 2303-7122 in Dongcheng, and 8547-0331 in Chang’an.