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A draft bill calling for parking fees in municipality-owned parking lots to be charged in increments of 15 minutes from the second hour and on, instead of the current one-hour increments, was approved in the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee after its first reading yesterday.

The bill was submitted by MK Moshe Kahlon (Likud). Additional, similar bills were also submitted by MKs Orit Noked and Yoel Hasson (Kadima).

Debate preceding the second and third readings will examine the amount of time necessary for the parking lots to prepare for an alternative method of calculating fees.

Expansion of the bill to include parking lots near train stations, hospitals and other government-operated entities is also under consideration.

Kahlon said that many parking lots, especially in large cities where parking space is at a very high premium, charge steep fees for parking even a few minutes beyond the first hour.

"This is a consumer-oriented bill that will prevent exploitation of drivers and benefit the public at large. Technological developments now provide means to charge by alternative methods and based on actual use of the parking lot, so preparation should be no problem" Kahlon said.