Sea Point business owners have been left fuming following a more than 50% increase in parking tariffs, which they say is hurting their bottom line.The area saw an increase in parking tariffs from R2.80 every 15 minutes (R11.20 an hour) to R4.40 per 15 minutes (R17.60 per hour) from July. After over a month of the new tariffs, business owners have taken to social media to lambaste the City of Cape Town, saying they are losing customers.The tariffs and charges proposal document for the City’s current financial year classified Sea Point‚ Claremont and Tygervalley as “high-demand areas”. In these areas the price was increased to align with that in the Cape Town CBD.Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, explains: “As per the approved 2017/18 parking tariffs, the various managed kerbside parking areas within the city have been divided into ‘high-demand areas’ and ‘all other areas’. In the 2016/17 tariffs, the high-demand areas were only limited to the Cape Town CBD, which is linked to higher parking fees. However, recent surveys and studies undertaken by the transport and urban development authority business team consultants showed that Sea Point needed to be classified as a high-demand due to current parking use levels. The same results were found in two other areas in the city and high-demand parking tariffs were implemented there too.”The increase encourages drivers to spend less time in parking bays, he explains. “Parking fees discourage people from using parking spots in high-demand areas for very long periods as this would otherwise discourage easy access by customers. The purpose is to maintain access to businesses.”But Sea Point Improvement District chief operations officer Heather Tager says the numerous complaints from businesses show they are “feeling a direct knock”.“Most of the businesses within this area are smaller, privately owned ones and are feeling the direct knock with many clients openly stating they are unable to support them due to the expensive parking and say it is cheaper to park in the shopping centres.”Shopping centres in the area offer a parking rate of around R10 per hour.Tager says the increased parking rates have also had a knock-on effect on driver behaviour, with many drivers choosing other areas to park, such as side roads.“Our Law Enforcement officers have also reported that the number of vehicles parking in side streets has drastically increased, which is further proof that the increased parking fees are having zero effect on congestion.”However, Herron states City officials have not “yet noted any changes in driver behaviour in the Sea Point area” or a decrease in drivers using the paid parking.