– Free parking for banks and utility companies
-Special rates for taxis and businesses
By: Brushell Blackman
The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) is to slash parking meter fees by 50 percent once this and other new measures have been approved by the General Council and Smart City Solutions (SCS).
Motorists will now pay $25 plus Value Added Tax (VAT) for 15 minutes instead of the current rate of $50 plus VAT.
According to the Public Relations Officer Debra Lewis, these measures are more than likely to be introduced by this weekend. Lewis said once the council meets with all the relevant stakeholders and the measures have been ratified and gets the blessings of the relevant authorities; the parking meter project will once again be fully operational.
She said that bank employees will be issued with special parking permits to park for free in front of banks. There will also be new measures for businesses and their employees. “We are looking at giving reduced parking fees to businesses and their employees for parking spaces in front of their premises.”
The new measures go further; utility companies such as Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT), Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and DIGICEL will be allowed free parking in the course of doing their work. The PRO added that it is important that company logos are prominently displayed so that there will be no issues.
On top of that parking around religious institutions such as Mosques, churches and temples will now be free. In what appears to be measures that seek to silence the myriad criticisms leveled against the parking meter project M&CC is going even further.
Unused minutes from a previous parking card will now be rolled over and can be used in a different parking location. Previously this could not be done and many motorists complained bitterly about this and other measures that came with the parking meter project.
Taxis will now be granted permits to park at a rate lower than the newly proposed $100 plus VAT for one hour of parking to ply their trade. Lewis noted that the measures will be far reaching and she envisages more rewarding measures once all stakeholders have been consulted this week.
The Council is also expected to issue disabled badges for the differently abled motorist who will utilize the parking meter service. It is expected that this group will now be able to park for free.
This is in addition to teachers who are allowed to park for free in front of schools after meetings were held between the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and M&CC.
Lewis could not say if fixed penalty notices will be issued instead of clamping but she did confirm that when the new measures take effect clamping of vehicles will resume. She advised that motorists purchase tickets to avoid such inconvenience; the PRO could not say if the fee to remove a clamp which is currently $8,000 will be reduced as well.
The PRO told Kaieteur News that the M&CC will be holding a press conference soon to announce the new measures that are currently on the cards and any other additional ones.
The parking meter project has come in for an avalanche of criticisms from all sections of society. The Alliance for Change (AFC), the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP/C) and the Movement Against the Parking Meter Project have called for the scrapping of the project.
The M&CC never made the contract for the project public and many saw this as suspicious. To date SCS or the M&CC have disclosed the cost of the parking meter venture.
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