The newly introduced parking fee packages will reduce parking costs for motorists, officials from Tendy Three Investments and Bulawayo City Council (BCC) have stated.
The packages come in three categories, and the officials state that they have a significant discount as compared to the current pay-as-you-go system.
The packages are made up of the Silver package pegged at US$30 per week, gold package pegged at US$60 per fortnight and platinum package at US$90 per month.
Council officials say this is in response to an outcry from motorists who said paying US$1 per hour is exorbitant especially for those who work in the CBD as they would pay up to US$8 per day.
BCC parking project manager, Vusisizwe Sibanda, said motorists pay for their packages they will be added into the system database and when the package is about to expire, they will be sent reminder notifications on their phones.
He said motorists are welcome to pay in local currency at the prevailing bank rate.
“Some motorists indicated that they preferred to pay upfront in bulk hence we are continuously evolving the system to cater for those systems. Through this parking system, we have managed to clean the streets, put markings and patched some of the potholes in the first year. As we enter the second year there will be greater change,” he said.
Sibanda said several changes have been made as the officials are in constant engagement with motorists and are trying their best to address their concerns.
“We started on about 300 bays and we are now on 5 200 bays. We have not reached the maximum, we are probably at half of the total number of bays that are supposed to be under this parking management systems. We have made several changes in response to issues that have been raised by the public,” Sibanda said.
“We started off with zones, which we finally did away with, we had the 30-minute zone, one-hour zone and the two-hour zone and we remained with the one-hour zone for the rest of the city. They also requested to be able to transfer their money to different parking bays hence we introduced the current ticket system.”
TTi chairman Lizwe Mabuza said this is a significant discount for motorists especially considering they have an option of paying in local currency.
“Motorists were initially parking for up to US$8 a day but if you look at this package they are now paying a maximum of US$3 a day. This is a huge discount for them. They can even pay this amount in local currency at the official bank rate which is a huge advantage to them,” he said.
However, motorists have continued to complain that the parking fees are beyond the reach of many, and they accused the council of not consulting widely.
Gerald Phiri, who works at a company situated out of town said the amounts are a bit stiff especially for people who are in and out of town.
“We pay an average about $3-$5 a day on parking fees. The worst part is we don’t park for those full hours. I can come to town for an errand that will take me about 15-20 minutes then I go back to the office, when I come back the hour would have lapsed but I would not have parked for the whole time,” he explained.
“So, imagine if I have many errands on that particular day. Going to the office and back. These prices either need to be reviewed or there be a system that can record the amount of time that people park.”
Another motorist, Lungelo Ndlovu said TTI is overburdening citizens who are already struggling to make ends meet.
“Personally, I’m not happy with these fees. They must review them and allow us to pay in local currency. We are already struggling to put food on our tables as it is. We weren’t consulted as stakeholders and as their clients we demand that these prices be reviewed.”
An entrepreneur who runs an accessories shop in town said the introduction of park fees has affected their businesses.
“Business is no longer the same. My shop is in the CBD and clients complain about coming over because of the park fees. Some do call and ask me to bring their accessories outside but these are just a few,” he said.
“I also drive but now park my car at zones where park fees have not yet been introduced, which is an inconvenience because I would have to then walk a long distance to my shop. Imagine paying rent for your shop, rent for your home and on top of that paying hefty parking fees. It’s too much.”
Another business person, William Mambo said the prices were fair, considering that most towns and cities charge the same amount.
“Fees have been fair since all cities now charge the same. Though lowering them would be welcome. The streets have more parking. And the fact that it is payable in RTGS makes life easy,” he said.
“Though I feel running a business in town is affected by the parking fees as customers prefer to go to places where they aren’t charged. Also, most workers with cars won’t afford these parking fees as it is a lot especially now when salaries are generally low.”