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May 20, 2022

Bucharest car parks ‘controlled by clans’

Car parks in the capital’s central areas have been good sources of incomes for clandestine parking workers for years. They are organised in clans and make over RON 3,000 a month, despite authorities’ efforts to stop them and the hundreds of fines received from gendarmes, daily ‘Romania libera’ wrote yesterday.

The clans of clandestine workers are active mostly in central areas, near bars, restaurants or large stores and they intensify their activity after 6 p.m., when City Hall parking employees end their shift. “We don’t have the courage to tell them anything and I don’t think we would manage to chase them away anyhow. The authorities are helpless too. They either fine them, but nobody pays the fines, or they take their money,” a City Hall parking worker told the publication.

Although drivers are not forced to give any money to the clandestine parking workers, they prefer to do so because otherwise they risk finding their cars damaged, the newspaper underlined. “The areas known for an aggressive behaviour of parking workers are Unirii Square, the Historical Centre, the Municipal Hospital, Muncii Square and Dorobanti area. This is where the aggressive ones are, those who scratch cars, start fights and threaten police agents,” a spokesperson for the local police, Razvan Popa, said. According to a police agent interviewed by the newspaper, the force is practically helpless in front of the car park clans because all they can do is give them fines. Moreover, some agents were even threatened with so-called AIDS contaminated needles.

Official data from the City Hall show that in 2010, a total of 793 fines were written, worth RON 107,011. Only seven were paid. The publication said many of the people acting as illegal car park workers look like homeless people, wearing worn-out and dirty clothes. Some of them even have various disabilities, while others were forced to take on the job after failing to find work elsewhere. “I used to work on a construction site. The crisis came and I couldn’t find work anymore. What was I to do? I make good money here,” a man identified as Adi, who operates in Decebal Boulevard area, told the newspaper. Another man in Lahovari square told the newspaper that this is a tough job where there is no place for women. “There’s a lot of competition, we each have our own areas and don’t try to work on another man’s turf. There’s already five of us. But I make good money, at least RON 3,000 a month,” the man said.

Until now, there is no clear information as to the number of people who act as illegal parking workers, nor is there a strategy to combat the phenomenon. City Hall representatives say there aren’t many solutions to the problem, because the legislation is flawed.

Officially, the Bucharest Street Administration manages 3,747 parking spaces, according to the most recent count, in May 2010. The number is incredibly small, given that there are about 90,000 cars in traffic per day and a total of 1,164,207 cars licensed in Bucharest.

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