Lumbidzani Dima, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO motorists yesterday all but abandoned parking bays in the city centre’s new parking zone where drivers must pay US$1 to park for 30 minutes.
A new parking system came into force yesterday in the city centre that will see motorists paying more.
The project is being implemented in phases.
Parking in Zone one, a prime parking area covering Leopold Takawira Avenue to 11th Avenue and Fife Street to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street came into force yesterday with motorists avoiding parking there due to the US$1 per 30 minutes parking.
According to the local authority, Zone two where motorists will be parting with US$1 to park for an hour is yet to be operationalised.
The parking fees are paid in local currency at the prevailing official exchange rate which is currently standing at US$1: ZW$120. Therefore, parking space charges are $120 per 30 minutes in the prime zone.
The new system is implemented by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in partnership with Tendy Three International (TTI).
The local authority will receive 30 percent of revenue, while TTI will take 70 percent.
A Chronicle news crew moved around the city centre and observed that motorists were not daring to park in Zone one.
Those who had no idea of the new parking system would turn away as soon as they were told of the new fees.
Less than four cars at a time would be parked along Jason Moyo Street between 8th and 9th avenues, while in other streets outside Zone one, cars were competing for parking space.
There was so much anger that was directed at parking marshals with several drivers telling them that they were going to park their cars elsewhere and walk to the area.
Most motorists felt paying US$1 per 30 minutes was daylight robbery and said council must concentrate on fixing the roads that are littered with potholes first.
“You will be left alone on this street. We are moving away to park our cars elsewhere. We can’t be giving you money while we are hungry citizens. If you implement the system on all streets then all of us will start walking.
We can’t be scammed like this. This is daylight robbery,” said a motorist driving slowly along Jason Moyo Street.
A woman who had parked her car without knowledge of the new system was initially reluctant to pay the fee. She claimed she does not carry bond notes, and had US$100 notes.
“The only US$1 I had was used to buy bread at OK supermarket so it’s either you look for my US$99 change right now or just let me go because I don’t have time. Next time you will learn to plan properly with your bosses, always have change,” she said.
After debating for a while, she paid the dollar and drove off.
Another driver, Mr Tanaka Ngwenya said the new parking system was unfair and also pleaded for parking marshals to improve their communication skills.
“These guys just do not know how to approach people and explain the whole process. They assume that everyone knows about these parking fees. What these authorities are doing is unexplainable, they lack planning, instead of fixing the roads which are full of potholes they are busy sourcing money from poor souls,” he said.
“US$1 per 30 minutes is too much, it means in an hour it’s US$2 and someone working at the shops along the respective street would want to park their car closer to them. If they park at 9AM and they knock off at 5PM it means they are paying US$16 a day for five days a week, which is insane considering the economic situation of our country.”
Ms Precious Moyo said the problem is that people think that if one owns a car, they have got lots of money to throw around.
“We are as equal as the people who walk, we do not have the money. Owning a car does not mean we are loaded. I feel like this is overcharging, they should just charge US$1 a day then we can comply,” she said.
Article Source: The Chronicle