Motorists in Bulawayo opted to desert parking space in the Central Business District after the new parking fees came into effect on Friday.
For a 30-minute prime parking slot, motorists will have to pay US$1 or an equivalent in local currency.
The new parking fees have been condemned by residents who indicated that they are too steep considering the state of the economy.
The city’s vehicle parking management system is managed by Tendy Three Investments (TTI) who was awarded the tender by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) under a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) framework where TTI designs, installs and maintains the parking system using its own resources (US$2.2million) for an initial six-year period with the option of an extension of up to four years.
The proceeds during the contract period will be shared at a ratio of 70 percent to the TTI and 30 percent to BCC, each will then be mandated to take care of its own expenses incurred in the project.
But BCC Corporate Communications Manager, Nesisa Mpofu, said the parking bay that the council is providing is for customers and as such should not be a permanent parking spot.
“The parking bay is for clients or customers going into a building or shop. It is not anticipated that one must occupy the parking bay for a full day,” she said.
Mpofu said there were are different parking options that motorists could consider.
“There are parkades, of which the bigger ones are the NRZ, Dulys, which is now a car wash and a bar the Bulawayo Centre. Each building has a backyard that can be used by the company for parking. There are also other players offering parking solutions within the CBD on their premises as parking for the public for longer periods,” she said.
The BCC communications manager added there are provisions for building with the CBD to provide onsite parking for their employees
“This is provided for through Local Plan No 4 (Central Area) whereby buildings with multi-floors should provide parking at basements, parkade,” Mpofu said.
“It should be noted that parking within the city can never be enough to accommodate all vehicles that come into the city as populations are growing whilst the city has remained the same over the years.”
Mpofu added the parking system has vast advantages to the city such as decongestion, pedestrianisation and creating opportunities for the establishment of parking garages in the CBD due to increased demand for parking space.
“Promotion of the use of District Shopping Centres at Nkulumane and Entumbane Complex and Suburban Shopping Centres – Zonkizizwe, Ascot, Bradfield, Hillside, Nketa 6. Promotion of the smart city concept through doing business online, reduction of carbon emissions from vehicles and thereby reducing the effects of climate change,” she said.
According to the BCC, violations to be addressed by the Parking Management System as per SI 63 of 2015 (Bulawayo Clamping and Tow Away By Laws), whose fines attract a prescribed penalty of US$20 include:
-Parking of motor vehicles across lines of parking bays
-Parking of taxi cabs other than in prescribed taxi parking
-Parking of motor vehicles for a period longer than indicated by council
-Parking of motor vehicles other than in demarcated parking bays
-Parking of motor vehicle which does not display a valid license disc
-Parking of motor vehicle upon a pavement
-Parking of motor vehicle carrying inflammables in a built up area
-Parking of motor vehicles for the purpose of hire or sale without council approval
-Unloading of commercial vehicles other in loading zones
-Repair, oil, grease or wash motor vehicle in a municipal car park causing dirty, nuisance or inconveniences
-Driving a taxi cab without a taxi badge
-Display of billboards on pavements
-Displaying of goods, hardware or furniture for sale on pavements.
Council sources told CITE the parking project would be rolled out in phases of 50 terminals per phase.
“A terminal is geared to service 15 to 20 parking bays. In the first phase between 750 and 1 000 parking bays will be covered. Since the city will have about 7 000 parking bays, it is anticipated the project will compose of seven phases. Phase 1 to 4 will target to cover 4 000 parking bays, which make up prime and peak demand,” sources said.
Council sources also pointed out there was a culture where people did not want to pay for services that would improve the city.
“People want to park their cars the whole day for free while doing their business such as money changers. Some people buy take-aways every day and spend more money shopping yet when we ask that they pay, there is contestation,” they said.