Parking fees ‘kill business’

2015-10-23 09:30
Mohamed Sheriff of FZ Auto, Debby de Koning of Oakleigh Funeral Home, Kevin Naicker of Hyundai, Pops Reddy of AC Crampton, Anel Vlok of Extreme Machines and Bridget Jones of Pronel show their disapproval outside their Greyling Street businesses after

Mohamed Sheriff of FZ Auto, Debby de Koning of Oakleigh Funeral Home, Kevin Naicker of Hyundai, Pops Reddy of AC Crampton, Anel Vlok of Extreme Machines and Bridget Jones of Pronel show their disapproval outside their Greyling Street businesses after (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - Business owners in Greyling Street have criticised the municipality and private company Panzascore, saying the paid parking system is driving away customers.

“The place is like a ghost town now since customers have to pay to park. There are no other options for them or our staff, and we don’t have enough space on our properties for parking,” said Pronel managing director Bridget Jones.

Jones was speaking yesterday at a meeting of more than 20 business owners convened by the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) to discuss the matter.

The meeting heard that the paid parking system reached Greyling Street last week, with charges of R6 an hour, costing people more than R50 a day to park their vehicles outside their places of work.

PCB CEO Melanie Veness will now facilitate discussions with business owners and the city.

“After the article was published in The Witness, the city manager [Mxolisi Nkosi] said that he would accept ideas on the way forward,” she said.

Veness said she understands that the businesses are not refusing to pay at all, but are saying that R6 per hour per staff member is “ridiculous” and that other, cheaper options should be available.

Express Signs owner Norman McGladdery said he feels “popular businesses with popular parking spots” are being targeted.

“This system is not evenly and effectively applied and we feel victimised.”

McGladdery said his company depends on roadside parking to get customers into his business and queried how the system was being rolled out in the CBD.

“They do not realise that this paid parking system is killing our business,” he said.

The Greyling Street business owners pointed out that the congested Retief and Pietermaritz streets did not have paid parking although most surrounding streets did.

However, business owner Roshan Jainath said paying for parking was not a new concept.

“The paid parking system has been operational for over two years and has contributed to the process of helping rein in lawlessness in the CBD. The city is duty-bound to enforce its by-laws and recover this much needed revenue,” he said.

Jainath added that it was “ludicrous” for businesses to lay claim to the streets outside their premises, and to expect the city to provide free parking for their employees

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  parking

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