….touts $12,000 monthly package for taxis and minibuses only
Contrary to what was said previously by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) that the parking rate would be slashed in half, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green has announced today that the 50% reduction is only applicable to vehicles parking for 8 hours or longer.
Following mounting pressure form all sides, calling for the controversial parking meter project to be scrapped and with the President belatedly calling for a reduction in the ‘burdensome’ prices, on Monday last, the Mayor had said that persons will now be required to pay $25 per 15 minutes of parking, which would equate to $100 per hour of parking, along with 14% VAT (Value Added Tax), instead of the original amount of $200 per hour plus 14% VAT.
However, during a M&CC and Smart City Solutions (SCS) presser held this afternoon, the Mayor announced that both parties have agreed to “reduce metered parking rates charged for parking for eight (8) eight hours and more by fifty percent (50%). This discount will be available to everyone directly at the parking meters.”
It was then outlined that “the metered parking fee for all motorist parking for periods of 15 minutes to 4 hours shall remain the same at $50 per 15 minutes plus VAT” ($200 per hour.)
However if a motorist pays for 4 hours of parking at the same $50 per 15 minutes plus 14% VAT, then according to the Mayor they “will automatically be credited with 8 hours of metered parking.”
The M&CC had also said prior, that fees applicable to clamping and booting (immobilization) of vehicles would be revised. It was announced today that charges for immobilization would be reduced by 50%, which would equate to $4000 plus 14% VAT, as opposed to its previous price of $8000 plus 14% VAT.
However, that reduction would only last for a period of 6 months, following which the prices for clamping and booting would then presumably return to its original state.
According to the Mayor, “there will be no immobilization fee penalty for a one month adjustment period.”
She said that during this period, vehicles which are immobilized by the parking meter wardens would be required to pay the metered parking fee for the length of time that they were immobilized.
So for the one month adjustment period only, if a vehicle is clamped or booted (immobilized) for not paying parking (for example) in excess of an hour, then instead of paying the $4,000 fine, the motorist would pay for the one hour of parking which would in this case be $200.
When that one month period expires, the 6 months rate of $4,000 will be applicable until that 6 months period expires and the original $8,000 immobilization rate resumes.
The M&CC also outlined that a no clamping grace period of 15 minutes will be introduced. Meaning that no clamping will be conducted until at least 15 minutes after expiry of a parking ticket receipt. So “a vehicle parked at 1:00pm and purchased 1 hour of metered parking; this car may not be immobilized until after 2:15pm.”
Pay by Space
It was also announced by the M&CC that “rather than paying for a particular space for a particular amount of time, motorists will instead be paying for parking time for their particular car. This effectively means that motorists may purchase any amount of parking time then move from any metered parking space anywhere in the City for the amount of time purchased on a single parking ticket until its expiry.”
M&CC had outlined on Monday last that Bank employees will be once again allowed to utilise their company’s parking lots. These employees, they said, would also be facilitated with monthly parking permits at a lower rate, provided that their names are submitted to the M&CC by their respective companies.
In today’s presser it was announced that “businesses may apply for monthly parking permits which my be considered on a case by case basis” and that “businesses may apply for loading/offloading parking regulations as their business needs may require on a case by case basis.”
Moreover, the M&CC said that residents may apply for residential parking permits but it was not mentioned at what lower rates these permits would be given if any.
What was announced however, is that official taxis and minibuses will be able to purchase monthly parking passes “for $12, 000 per month plus VAT” and that M&CC will resume implementation of the Parking Meter project on February 19, next week Monday.
Since its inception, various stakeholders including the Parliamentary Opposition and the private sector had severely criticised the Parking Meter project saying that it reeks of corruption and will only add additional burden to businesses and citizens alike.
The Mayor and Town Clerk who seemed bent on moving ahead with the project in spite of the many criticisms had contended that the initiative will assist in easing congestion in the city and will also generate much needed income for the M&CC.
Yesterday, Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards (ag) had issued an order bringing paid parking, penalties and the implementation of the controversial parking meter contract in Georgetown to a screeching halt, pending the results of a hearing later this month.
The order was granted after an application for judicial review was made by Attorney Kamal Ramkarran, on behalf of Mohendra Arjune. Mayor Patricia Chase Green, Town Clerk Royston King and City Councillors were named as the respondents.
At the press conference when questioned about the resumption of the project, even though a Court order was in effect, Mayor Chase-Green said that it would not conflict with their resumption.
Against the backdrop of all the above mentioned, the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) yesterday had the largest turnout for its third protest against the controversial parking meters, with many vowing support to the movement until the contract is scrapped.