COMMENT: Bulawayo City Council (BCC) should reduce parking fees further

The Chronicle

We have argued on this space that the new parking fee in Bulawayo was too high and praised motorists for refusing to pay it by avoiding the zone where the charge applies.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in partnership with a South African company, Tendy Three International (TTI), introduced the new parking system last month. Zone One which stretches from Leopold Takawira Avenue to 11th Avenue and Fife Street to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street costs US$1 for 30 minutes or the equivalent at the prevailing auction rate.

The partnership told us when launching the parking system that after Zone One they would come up with others where rates were to be lower than the first one.

However, we protested, as motorists and residents’ associations did, that the cost was extortionate and urged BCC to reduce it.

Ahead of that decision, we suggested that motorists just keep off Zone One. Indeed, most motorists abandoned parking bays in the city centre and parked in areas where BCC and its partner haven’t reached.

We are glad that the pressure that was exerted from multiple angles has moved BCC, as we report elsewhere today, to scrap the US$1 per 30 minutes fee in Zone One to US$1 per hour for the whole city as from Monday.

Announcing the climb-down in a statement yesterday evening Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube said: “The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public and the motoring public that with effect from Monday, 21 March 2022, the Central Business District has been designated into a single Zone of 1 hour/US$1 or at equivalent bank rate through EcoCash, POS or ZWL Cash. This notification cancels the 30mins US$1 Zone that was in place at the core of the city.”

We are pleased that motorists rose against the high charge and demanded it be reviewed. We are also happy that motorists left the new parking bays empty, the attendants basically idle most of the time and therefore BCC and TTI cashing little.

The people demonstrated their power and the partnership was left with no choice, but to reduce the fee. Indeed, seeing the opposition that people had against it and their commitment not to pay, the venture looked to be a loss-making one.

Yes, US$1 for an hour is a notable reduction, but the Maths still shows us that the charge remains high.

Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) chairman Mr Winos Dube said one would need US$8 to park for eight working hours in the city centre and therefore US$40 per week and US$160 per month.

“If that US$1 could have been pegged for let’s say for three hours or a two-hour zone, it could have been something better. Not this one-hour zone. It is still very expensive for our people. Fair and fine they have given a listening ear, but we still make an appeal that could they consider this more seriously with a reflection of extending the times of this zone,” said Mr Dube.

Clearly therefore, most motorists will be unable to pay the new charge. Having to pay US$160 on parking a vehicle in the city for a month is impossible. Added to that is the fuel price increase last week.

BCC and its partner must seriously think around Mr Dube’s US$1 for two or three hours suggestion. It is not unnecessarily heavy on a motorist’s pocket so he or she can be able to sacrifice and pay for the service. When they pay, the local authority and TTI get the cash.

That would be better than having attendants manning neatly marked, but empty bays.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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