Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has urged the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and the city parking contractor Tendy Three Investments (TTI) to revise the parking fees arguing motorists cannot afford it.
TTI was contracted by the local authority to manage its vehicle parking system and is charging US$1 per hour, which was revised from US$1 for 30 minutes following a public outcry.
BPRA wants the local authority to charge US$1 per day.
Speaking during a press conference held Wednesday on the state of service delivery, BPRA secretary for administration, Thembelani Dube said TTI should hand over the parking project back to BCC.
“Bulawayo has become the most expensive city when it comes to city parking. The controversial parking charges are a death knell for many small businesses. Abandoned parking bays and deserted streets tell a story. Unfortunately, the only language that Tendy Three understands is profit,” said Dube.
He said TTI is a classic case of the failure of private contracting and policy blindness.
“There is no mechanism or platform in place for public interface by Tendy Three. There is also no PR and no facilities for disputes. The relationship between residents and Tendy Three is highly impersonal and the company cannot even read the body language of ratepayers who have largely boycotted the metered parking spaces.”
Dube added that there was no consultation done with residents, “as BPRA we were just invited and asked to fill in registers and told that Tendy Three had won the tender. If BCC is serious about saving money, management should just cut down on ridiculous salaries they pay themselves, and money they waste on vanity projects.”
He said the policy is self-serving and was thoughtlessly implemented as a money-making venture.
“The new parking fees for Bulawayo are almost at par with what motorists pay in New York City, US, where the standards of living are better off. Many business owners believe that a significant portion of their patronage arrives by car, and thus high parking rates will force customers to shop elsewhere. Most of the businesses affected actually pay rent to council and the cost will be thrown to consumers,” said Dube.
Dube added that BPRA is also deeply concerned by the lack of transparency and accountability factor of funds collected through this project from both parking and clamping.