…shops report 50 percent drop in sales
The recently introduced pay-to-park initiative continues to divide the society more than two weeks into its launch. The system which is a joint venture between Smart City Solutions (SCS) and the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has come in for an avalanche of criticisms. Parasitic, heartless and greedy are some of the words you hear when the parking meter subject comes up.
A major problem that is arising from the initiative is the negative effect the project is now having on businesses in close proximity to the meters. Businesses are now complaining that sales have declined to as much as 50 percent as customers reject the parking meters and are staying away from city stores.
When Kaieteur News visited central Georgetown, businesses were unanimous in their assessment of the project’s effect.
According to Tariq Bacchus, owner of Future Vision Mobile Solution on Robb Street , “ while the project was well intentioned, I don’t think much thought was put into it”.
Bacchus said normally his business is much busier at this time of the year, but now there is hardly anyone coming into the store to window shop let alone to buy. Further he said that his sales have dropped by some 30 percent since the introduction of the parking meters.
He noted that people are calling the store to enquire about products before they come in. “When the customers come they buy what they want and they are out”. The concerned owner said that he hopes that the fortunes of businesses change quickly, because he believes at this rate Georgetown may become irrelevant.
At the City Mall, on the corners of Regent and Camp Streets, a cosmetic vendor said that the parking meter is chasing customers away. The woman was very critical of the initiative.
“Who come up with this meter thing in get sense.” She said that her sales have dwindled by some 50 percent and at this rate she will have to stop trading because there will be no monies to do business.
At another business location not far away from the Mall, Anna Zheng a cosmetic jewelry shop owner said that she was only able to pay the shop rent yesterday. That was two weeks after, that she was meant to make that payment.
The Chinese National said that customers are hardly coming into her store and her sales have plummeted by 50 percent as well. Pointing to the absence of customers in the shop, she believes that something needs to be done because many small business owners like her will be forced out of business.
Things were very similar across at R Sookraj and Sons on Regent Street, according to owner Ashton Sookraj customer traffic in the store has come to a standstill. He said that his sales have also decreased by 50 percent.
Sookraj said that he is now forced to cut the hours of his employees. He believes that this move was necessary since he would have been forced to let staff go.
Sookraj said he normally pays for 30 minutes of parking in the mornings so that he can open his store. After then he said that he parks his car outside of the parking zone, which he admits is a security risk, since he has to walk a far distance.”
But there isn’t another option at this time” the man said. Kaieteur News heard very similar stories at Kirpalani, Footworks Mega Store, Digicel, Bhena’s Footwear and KD Vaswani.
Meanwhile, Pizza Hut staff had a different story to tell. Representatives of the fast food entity said that their business is flourishing since there is more space in the vicinity for their customers. One representative indicated that the parking meter has ensured that the loud music and lewd behaviour in the vicinity that was constant prior to the meters, no longer exist.
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