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Sat Nov 29 00:47:38 CAT 2014

Parking fees drain city businesses

ROSHAN NEBHRAJANI | 10 May, 2012 00:47
A parking marshal waits for 'customers' in Parkhurst. It now costs R8 an hour to park in the area Picture: ALON SKUY

An abundance of empty parking spaces line Parkhurst's once-bustling Fourth Avenue.

The suburban street, known for its trendy restaurants and unique retail stores, is a prime example of how planned paid-parking initiatives could affect businesses throughout Johannesburg.

Residents and business owners have felt the effects of the R8 hourly parking charge, which took effect in January.

"Just two days after this started, lunch-time trade dropped. Overall business has dropped by a third," said Francois Thorne, the manager of George's on 4th.

Business owners and residents feel they were not given proper notification before the law went into effect.

"I would understand if they took our considerations into account," said Tom Hughes, owner of The Attic.

"But we don't know what this is for or where the money is going."

The City of Johannesburg hired Ace Parking to manage the programme.

Ace Parking earns 75.8% of the profits. The city gets the rest.

The marshals who collect the fees are paid R1800 a month. From this month, they are expected to also receive 15% commission on fees, said one of the marshals.

Their average daily intake can range from R200 to R500, depending on the area the marshal is assigned to.

City of Johannesburg spokesman Gabu Tugwana said: "Although legal obligation was met to establish this system, the public's views can still be taken into account."

The kerbside parking is planned to be rolled out in Melville, Florida, Rosebank, Roodepoort, Norwood and Fordsburg by June 1.

It will also extend to Parkview, Greenside, Craighall Park, Northcliff, Rivonia, Linden, Brixton, Emmarentia, Birnam, Sandton and Corlett Drive in the coming months .

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