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My salary for your parking bay

The parking situation and related costs are no foreign concepts to your average Cape Tonian; young professionals and recent graduates on their first job are imposed with the parking dilemma that could very possibly cost them a large portion of their exceptionally base salary.

This debate is even further heated up with the City Council current parking tender (being reviewed by the public during the month of March) that calls for after-hours parking control that will now too impose a cost in selected central areas of Cape Town.

A benefit to establishments at the despair of young workers, I review the current and proposed parking plans and contribute with a balanced suggestion of my own.

Source : CapeTownDailyPhoto.com

The situation is pretty simple: if you are a working individual within one of Cape Town’s main operating areas, making use of your own motor vehicle could leave a severe hole in your wallet at the end of the month.  For the purpose of this article, I’ll base it upon two types of sample individuals:

1. A recent graduate or a young professional earning but a base salary and works within the conventional 09:00-17:00 standard, five days a week, at an establishment that is located within Cape Town’s central locations (namely: Cape Town’s CBD, Bellville, Claremont and Sea Point)
2. An individual that runs errands in and around the aforementioned areas and requires to park at various places for short periods of time.

Now, allow me to summarily run some numbers by you:

The first sample individual would require parking for 8 hours a day. Currently, rates at these central locations range between R7-R10 an hour, so I’ll use R8.50 as the average. This results in no less than R68 every day. Not the end of the world, you may think, but now accumulate that to a monthly expense.

R68, five days a week, that’s 20 days a month (plus a few more days occasionally) = R1360. For many, this can be a sunk cost as high as 20% – 30% of your salary, simply for being at the place where your hard work earns it.

The second individual suffers from a different yet equally as distressing problem; our current system works in the way that if you park in any of the supervised bays for more than a second, you’ll be charged the minimum rate. Dropping off a package? Running in and out? Prepare to pay R2.50 every time you do so.

Again, it may sound punitive, but if your job entails a substantial number of these quick stops on a daily basis, you too will accumulate a sizeable expense at month’s end.

The new tender by the City Council, in summary, proposes that parking after hours (17:00-Midnight) should also be expensed for. The justification is the addition of a few thousands new (supervised) parking bays to the aforementioned areas, as well as areas such as Kloof St and Camps Bay.  It follows the concern of business owners within such areas that the lack of parking bays and ones that are occupied for the whole day are compromising potential customer traffic to their establishments. Furthermore, the new bays will be supervised by official parking attendants, countering the issue of random, informal car guards and hopefully diminishing the motor crime figures that are prone to such hours. Lastly, and just as importantly, the new tender is founded upon encouraging people to make use of our public transport system, where and when available.

Armed & Ready (Source : IOL.co.za)

With the public transportation in consideration, I would like to raise a few concerns that relate to these sample individuals. Firstly, upon entering the after hours period, our public transport system is no longer as readily available. Getting from A to B at the late hours of the evening using taxis that are not roadworthy, often unlicensed and occasionally driven by intoxicated drivers is not an option I, for one, consider reliable. That’s not say that other transport services, such as Rikkis and Excite Taxis, are unreliable too, but they too cost a considerable amount during such hours. I am beyond grateful for the MyCity bus service for sparking a glimpse of hope for our public transport, yet until it is fully integrated into our city I cannot consider it a viable alternative for all times and routes between the central zones of Cape Town.

MyCiti Buses - Cape Town's New Hope

Secondly, the individuals that will require to be on the move at all times, whether due to meetings, deliveries or similar urgency purposes will require their own vehicle,  as time is of the essence and traveling on multiple occasions using the various forms of public transport will result in a hefty expense.

However, I’m an objective person, in the sense that I understand the motives and reasoning behind both the current and proposed parking plans, and in some aspects I even support them.  That is to say, in a country like South Africa, where basic employment is sorely essential and fiscal dependency is fundamental, those that are privileged enough to own their own motor vehicles should indeed be taxed for such privilege, through fuel tax, parking disbursement and/or otherwise. Yet I’m also, amongst thousands of others, one of these sample individuals, and I fear that with the new tender in consideration, parking rates are only bound to increase.

It is why, in my opinion, we should introduce a parking plan that is based about a taxing system similar to that of a PAYE (pay as you earn) one, by suggesting the following adjustments:

1. Those that work within the supervised areas should be able to register themselves to a system of ‘Discounted Working Parking Permit’, whereby you pay a reduced monthly fee in exchange for a disc of sorts that allows to park at the normal bays for the duration of the day.
2. After hours parking, if approved, should be charged at a lesser rate than that of peak hours, and more suggestively a flat, nominal one irrespective of hours parked.

 This article will be sent to the City Council and respective involved parties in an attempt to raise both the concerns and suggestions mentioned, so I would encourage you to add your views and deliver some feedback.



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