Residents drive their point home on parking fees

The reintroduction of parking marshals in November last year has been met with condemnation by some Sea Point residents and approval by others.

A parking attendant explains the fees to a driver in Main Road, Sea Point.

The public were informed of the reintroduction of the parking marshals by the City of Cape Town last year via various media outlets, and the notice was published in the Atlantic Sun, (“Parking marshals return to Sea Point”, Atlantic Sun, October 27, 2021).

The management of parking was temporarily suspended since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Atlantic Sun reached out to people who voiced their views, negative and positive, about the parking fees on the private Facebook group, Atlantic Seaboard Crime Watch, and Bantry Bay resident Wouter Schreuders says he is in favour of paying for parking.

“I remember before they introduced this, years ago, it was practically impossible to park in the CBD areas because residents would just literally use parking spaces as their space. With the introduction of the parking marshals there was a marked improvement when it comes to parking. If you look at the hourly rate of the parking it’s a very low rate and it’s providing a valuable service,” said Mr Schreuders.

Mr Schreuders added residents should think of what the alternative is, and other residents agreed with that they should pay for parking.

Here are some of their comments taken from Facebook:

“During the period where we weren’t paying for parking it took ages to find a parking spot. Not to mention the hundreds of people who lost their jobs during this period. I will happily pay for parking knowing that all those people got their jobs back and having parking spots available instead of driving around for 20-30 minutes just to find parking for a quick stop into one of the shops,” said one Seaboard resident.

“There were literally no available parking bays before the marshals were deployed again recently. Before, I often had to drive around the block 2 or 3 times to find a bay, or, postponing my visit/going elsewhere out of pure frustration. Today I had to make a quick stop at Laughtons and found a bay right in front of the store, this has never happened before. I paid the R4.80 and left within 5 minutes. In my view the total lack of available bays does far more harm to businesses (people driving off instead of grabbing a quick coffee), than a nominal fee of R4.80, which ensures the bays turn quickly,” posted another.

“Don’t understand this moaning about parking. At least one can find a bay now. Before all bays were occupied all day,” observed one resident.

The parking marshalls have their eyes on the parking spot.

However, some residents say that the parking fee is affecting businesses that offer quick services while another suggested the City adopt a fee system used overseas.

“The parking fee charged by the City on Main Road is really expensive and is costing the coffee shops / run-in stores along the road big time. It’s R4.80 for 5 mins which is deterring people from stopping at stores along the road. I was at Seattle today and they have said it has massively impacted sales. Nicola Jowell has this been raised at all? I get charging for parking but there should be a 5-10min free period to facilitate a quick run in to a store,” said one person. “The City could follow international methods – parking is cheap for the first 45 mins or so and then goes up incrementally higher so as to deter people from parking for extended periods of time. This could help encourage a ‘come-and-go’ high street parking situation,” suggested someone else.

“Chasing business into the malls and away from small business. Reduced fees for a limited period is a great idea to enable one to run in for quick chores in smaller stores. Just feels like a rip-off as it is at the moment,” bemoaned another.

The parking fees.

At the time of announcing that parking marshals will resume their duties Rob Quintas, the Mayco member for transport, said the parking contracts would provide over 200 jobs. “Which is much needed in these difficult times. Also, the purpose of managing parking is to stimulate economic activity and to provide access to businesses who need to create jobs. This is extremely important, in particular now that the City is gearing for economic recovery in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The purpose of charging a tariff for on-street parking bays is to ensure a turnover of bays in popular areas and where people do business. This will benefit business owners because their clients need parking, and those who are looking for parking will also benefit because parking bays will not be hogged for hours on end by the same person,” explained Mr Quintas.

The City is also in the process of concluding a clamping protocol. Once finalised, repeat offenders who refuse to pay will have the wheels of their vehicles clamped.

Fines for parking violations range between R300 and R1 000, depending on the violation.