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After hours shopping to evade parking fees

by Staff reporter
01 Mar 2022 at 05:33hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents are resorting to evening shopping at supermarkets located along Zone One parking bays to evade paying exorbitant parking fees being charged during the day.

Paid parking is from 08:00 hours to 17:00 hours from Monday to Friday and 09:00 hours to 13:00 hours on Saturday. There is free parking on Sundays and public holidays.

A news crew observed yesterday that the zone covering Leopold Takawira Avenue to 11th Avenue and Fife Street to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street where motorists must pay US$1 for 30 minutes or ZW$120 was empty during most of the day.

Cars resurfaced after 5.30PM when parking in the area was free as most residents prefer shopping around that time when they can park for free.

The Bulawayo City Council in partnership with a private company, Tendy Three International (TTI) introduced the new parking system two weeks ago.

Under the arrangement council receives 30 percent of the collected parking fees while the company gets 70 percent.

The area under the prime parking zone is where major supermarkets, restaurants, fast food outlets, banks, clothing stores and hair salons are situated.

It is therefore costly for people to do their shopping or buy food while parked in this prime parking zone as many will require more than an hour to do so.

Disgruntled residents said council may have to reconsider the deal and reduce parking fees otherwise businesses will lose out as they cannot spend so much just on parking.

Mr Mcebisi Dube said residents were justified as they were not fully consulted in the implementation of the parking system.

"The idea of a modern parking system is commendable but I doubt all affected stakeholders were extensively engaged in the execution of this thing. I'm no business owner but I think that this is forcing potential customers to do business elsewhere where they can park freely and soon, we will all feel the effects because the same council will fail to get rates from the same affected businesses and their employees," he said.

"These days we prefer to park elsewhere and wait for the team to leave so that we park freely and shop. We would rather shop late or go elsewhere than waste money."

Another resident Mrs Nokubonga Ncube who described the new parking system as a "money making scheme" said it was of no benefit to residents who are already struggling to pay rates.

"We have network challenges when shopping which may cause delays so instead of coming into town we will rather go elsewhere or wait until they go but that wastes time. Council didn't think this through thoroughly and they won't generate much income from this, instead they are frustrating residents who are already struggling to make ends meet. If council doesn't review then we will park our cars and then walk, Bulawayo CBD is not that big in fact the exercise is much needed," she said.

For Mr Methembe Mpala, the cost of living does not allow anyone to part with US$16 just for parking daily as some work within Zone one.

"This issue of parking in town is troublesome nowadays especially for someone who drives and works within the affected zone. I cannot use US$16 just for parking a day, it's insane as we are already paying rates and other taxes as citizens," he said.

Speaking during a residents' engagement meeting organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) last week, the city parking project manager, Mr Vusisizwe Sibanda said while for now the set parking conditions and fees will stand, more flexible prepaid cards will be introduced at a later stage.

Source - The Chronicle