…widespread claims of lack of awareness
By Brushell Blackman
The much talked about ‘pay-for-parking’ system was launched yesterday, and was met with a less than enthusiastic response from the public and drivers.
When Kaieteur News visited downtown Georgetown to see how people were dealing with the new development there were a number of concerns that were raised by the public.
The majority of people had no knowledge that the launch was yesterday. They did not know where to get the parking meter cards, and the vehicles that parked in the designated bays openly disregarded the need to purchase a parking ticket.
One male individual opined that much more needs to be done on the ground, since people do not know how to use the meters.
“I walked the length of Regent Street and I could not see any ticket on any of the cars that were parked in the demarcated parking bays. There were a number of empty bays, an indication of people’s response to this unpopular project,” the man said
Many taxi drivers expressed displeasure about the $232 dollars per hour being charged to park. They said that they will not be able to pay it and emphasised that there should be special provisions for taxi drivers.
Gregory Mingo, a taxi driver that operated around the Stabroek Market area wants to know how people are going to manage with this new expense. He said for those taxi drivers that do not have their own vehicles it will be very burdensome for them to absorb that parking fee.
Mingo said on top of buying gas and paying the daily fee to the car owners they will now have to pay for parking every day. The disgruntled driver said he parks for four hours minimum per day and works five days per week. He calculates that will cost him $4,640 per week to park. He was furious with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and SCS and called them ‘blood suckers that have no care for anyone but themselves”.
Many of the drivers said they understood the need for the parking meters, but believe that the price to park is too high.
Another driver, Patrick Shepherd said that there was a meeting with SCS and the M&CC and a number of proposals were made. One of those proposals was for taxi drivers to pay $3000 per day for parking. Shepherd claimed that that was rejected by SCS. He opined that Guyana is not ready for parking meters at this time and the country’s economy should have been in a much better position before this decision was taken.
The company had indicated that there will be a brief grace period before any serious enforcement is implemented. It is believed that from next week those persons who do not pay to park will have their cars clamped and will have to pay $8,000 to have that clamp removed.
Additionally, they will have a two-hour period to make that payment, and if that is not made, the car will be towed away and kept at a SCS compound.
The parking meter initiative has been a very unpopular project that has come in for much criticism from all sections of the Guyanese society. However, the M&CC said that it will allow the cash strapped council to raise funds to manage the affairs of the city.
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