In the past, only drivers with disabilities holding a Disabled Person’s Parking Permit (“DPPP”) were entitled to use the on-street parking spaces designated for people with disabilities. With effect from 29 January 2021, the Transport Department (“TD”) extended the eligibility for using such parking spaces to holders of the Parking Certificate for Drivers Who Carry People with Mobility Disabilities (“Parking Certificate”) to facilitate their carrying of prescribed people with mobility disabilities.
According to TD, around 450 on-street parking spaces are currently designated for people with disabilities in Hong Kong. As at mid-March 2021, 1,816 DPPPs and 1,790 Parking Certificates had been issued by TD. Since the new measure was introduced by TD, the Office of The Ombudsman has received complaints, alleging that the measure has aggravated the problem of shortage of on-street parking spaces designated for people with disabilities. Moreover, some holders of Parking Certificates were suspected of abusing the use of certificates, such as perennially occupying the designated parking spaces, or parking there while not carrying any passengers with disabilities. Due to such misuse, drivers with disabilities are often deprived of the opportunity to use those parking spaces. There are also views that enforcement officers could hardly verify whether the person with disability as stated in the Parking Certificate was on board when the vehicle was driven into or out of a designated parking space. The new measure has made enforcement more difficult.
Ms Chiu said, “TD’s initiative of allowing holders of Parking Certificates to use on-street parking spaces designated for people with disabilities is well intended to address the access needs of people with lower limb mobility disabilities who do not drive. Nevertheless, given the limited supply of designated parking spaces, people with disabilities who genuinely need to use them will be affected if no effective regulatory mechanism is in place. Hence, we have decided to initiate this direct investigation to examine TD’s work with respect to on-street parking spaces designated for people with disabilities, including the issuance of DPPPs and Parking Certificates, the supply and conditions of use of designated parking spaces, and monitoring of the usage of designated parking spaces. Where due, the Office will make recommendations for improvement.”
Source: Office of the Ombudsman Hong Kong, China