Park your car, walk to keep fit: BCC…US$1 per 30 min parking fees kick in

13 Feb, 2022 - 00:02 0 Views
Park your car, walk to keep fit: BCC…US$1 per 30 min parking fees kick in

The Sunday News

Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
A DEFIANT Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has alluded that those who cannot afford the new parking fees should walk to town “so as to exercise and keep fit.”

This comes after the local authority and the contractor — Tendy Three Investments (TTI) — that won the tender to install the parking management system in the city have come under fire for their proposed fees, which will see motorists paying US$1 for 30 minutes, for what the local authority has termed prime parking.

For ordinary parking, motorists will pay US$1 for an hour.

The new fees will be effective from Friday 18 February. According to the local authority, the project is being implemented in phases, with phase 1, which will cater for the prime parking in the city set to cover Leopold Takawira Avenue to 11th Avenue and Fife Street to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street.

The second phase to the sixth phase will be an expansion from the area covered by the first phase until the whole city is encompassed. Once complete, there would be 7 200 parking bays in the city under the system. On Friday, they will commence with 174 parking bays.

Responding to questions from Sunday News, the local authority’s corporate communications manager, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu downplayed the public outcry on the fees. She defended the parking charges saying all the necessary consultations had been done in coming up with the fees.

The local authority has further said the parking fees were meant to promote wellness in the public by forcing them to walk if they could not afford them. She said parking management has always been in existence in the city albeit taking various formats.

“It should be noted that parking within the city can never be enough to accommodate all vehicles that come into the city as populations are growing while the city has remained the same over the years.

The parking system has vast advantages to the city; it decongests the Central Business District, pedestalisation of the CBD promoting safety to the pedestrians, promotion of wellness to the public through walking as an exercise and the promotion of the use of District Shopping Centres (Nkulumane and Entumbane Complex) and suburban shopping centres (Zonkizizwe, Ascot, Bradfield, Hillside, Nketa 6),” said Mrs Mpofu.

She said the system will also see the creation of opportunities for the establishment of parking garages in the CBD due to increased demand for parking space and the promotion of mass transit as most motorists abandon use of personal cars when going to the CBD.

The council spokesperson said coming up with the system would see the promotion of the smart city concept through doing business online, reduction on carbon emissions from vehicles and thereby reducing the effects of climate change.

“It should also be noted that when the Parking Management System was approved by Cabinet in 2021, the city held a stakeholders’ consultative meeting on Friday, 17 September 2021 at the Large City Hall. The engagement was held with various stakeholders.

A consultation meeting was held with councillors on Friday, 10 September 2021 to introduce the project and also outline the processes and the charges for parking. The cost of parking is outlined in the bid documents and contract between the City of Bulawayo and Tendy Three Investments.

The parking fees will be with effect from Friday, 18 February 2022. The contractor has not yet started charging anyone,” said Mrs Mpofu.

Regarding to company employees in the CBD, the council spokesperson said there are provisions for these buildings to provide on site parking for their employees. She said the design of the current parking bay was to ensure that the clients of a business easily get a parking space and quickly transact and go on with their other business.

“Parkades are constructed to accommodate longer parking times. A parking bay that council is providing is for customers and as such should not be a permanent parking spot. The parking bay is for clients or customers going into a building or shop. It is not anticipated that one must occupy the parking bay for a full day.

“There are different parking options that one can consider. There are parkades of which the bigger ones are the NRZ, Dulys which is now a car wash and a bar and at the Bulawayo Centre.

Each building has a back yard which can be used by the company for parking. It has to be noted that there are also other players offering parking solutions within the CBD on their premises as parking for public for longer periods,” said Mrs Mpofu.

In terms of funds division, between the contractor and the local authority, the council spokesperson said the project was under a Build Operate and Transfer agreement, which will run for an initial six years with an option to increase by a further four years.

“The proceeds during the contract period will be shared at a ratio of 70 percent to the counter-party and 30 percent to BCC, each will then be mandated to take care of its own expenses incurred in the project.

It has to be borne in mind that the counter-party has to recoup his investment during the contract period considering that it is under a BOT framework.

The City has an Interdepartmental Committee led by a project manager and represented by all key members who manage and work on the project on a day to day basis and report to the management committee,” said Mrs Mpofu.

She said the major advantage of the system was that it will improve revenue collection, create job opportunities for the residents of the city as well as bring order and sanity in the CBD allowing council to manage traffic flow and bring convenience to the motoring public.

“The project also aims to provide security to the vehicles of the motorists through Closed Circuit Camera Television (CCTVs).

Smart parking also reduces car emissions in urban centres by reducing the need for people to needlessly circle city blocks searching for parking, Parking search traffic makes up approximately 30 percent of all traffic in urban areas- making it a major contributor to environmental pollution,” she said.

TTI won the bid to implement the system in July 2020 and got the green light from Cabinet for them to start operations in August last year after the council had submitted their papers to the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida).

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