The parking meters

Halim Khan, businessman,

Othneil Chance, contractor,

Othneil Chance, contractor,

‘From day one when I heard about the parking meter I said government should rethink putting it in place. You cannot have teachers, nurses and security staff paying for parking when their salary is so low. Some people barely manage to buy a car on mortgage, have to pay monthly installments. All businesspeople should provide parking for their staff or customers. If they want to keep the parking meter, government should raise the salary by 30 percent or reduce the price for fuel because almost 40 percent of their salary is going towards parking. I am a citizen who returned to this country five years ago I was hoping for betterment. We voted for change and it looks like it is getting worse. If it continues like this we should have early elections.’

Omdatt, farmer,

Omdatt, farmer,

‘We are not working for enough money to afford parking. I go to town like once per week and I would prefer to use the speedboat and walk to places when I have to do my business. The parking meter may be a good thing because it helps with the traffic congestion I don’t think Guyana is ready for that. We already have enough bills to pay and to force the parking meter on people is ridiculous. We can hardly afford to pay for proper medical care and now this.’

 

Wesley Kingston

Wesley Kingston, plumber,

‘I don’t have a problem with the parking meter but the fee is too high for poor people. Another thing is they should have free parking for all government workers or increase their salary. I prefer to park my car at Vreed-en-Hoop stelling and cross with the speedboat when I have business to do in Georgetown than to pay for parking. I am self-employed and I don’t work for a lot of money and it is rough on me. The average man can barely afford a car for his convenience and now he is faced with additional expense apart from gasoline and maintenance of his vehicle.’

Halim Khan, businessman,

Halim Khan, businessman,

‘I think the parking meter is a good thing but the rates need to be looked at. Most times when we go to Georgetown to do business some people would block the parking for no reason. The legitimate people who go to do business cannot get to park and have to keep circling. The parking meter would bring in revenue for the City Council so I hope they use some of it to finance projects that would prevent flooding. If they wanted to implement parking meters, they should have put the town in order first. Since the metering system is already in place, there should be more personnel on the streets showing people where to get the card and how to use it. Instead of just waiting to clamp wheels, they need to sensitize people because this is something new. I purchased a card and couldn’t figure it out right away and a regular vendor on the street had to come and show me. I did not even know that I had to place the receipt on the dashboard.’

 

Shabir Mohamed, self-employed

Shabir Mohamed, self-employed,

‘I feel that Guyana is not ready for parking meters. The space in Georgetown is not that developed. Another thing, is the salary that people earn is far too small to pay $800 for a whole day parking. They end up paying $24,000 per month so what would they live on? This would severely affect people and I think it should be scrapped. We can’t compare ourselves to America and Canada where they have parking meters; Guyana is underdeveloped. I admit that the city needs money but they are only getting 20 percent, which is nothing and Guyana would lose 80 percent of its foreign exchange. The mayor [Patricia Chase-Green] and others must be answerable for the contract that they signed. It is not only affecting the people in Georgetown, but from all over the country and that is not fair. I understand that the people who live in Georgetown cannot even park on their driveways. These workers are in contempt of court for continuing to clamp people’s wheels but nobody is doing anything about it. Besides, the President [David Granger] should order a forensic audit into City Hall to see if there’s corruption with the parking meter deal. ‘

 

Ashminie Sookram

Ashminie Sookram, salesgirl,

‘To me the parking meter has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, one advantage is that the traffic congestion has eased up in the city and there is adequate parking space. And the City Council hopes to bring in revenue but instead of making a profit they would make a loss. People have been parking at other places instead of supporting the parking meter. This is to show their disapproval for it and you cannot blame them because the City Council did not consult the people. Another disadvantage is that business people have been losing sales because people are not going to stores where they have to pay for parking. Plus, this government put VAT on every little item as well as electricity and water, which was already a burden on people. And they take away the subsidy on the bills from the pensioners and they are finding it hard.’

Carl Pedro, traffic cop,

Carl Pedro, traffic cop,

‘The parking meter is a good thing because it would gather revenue for the country. The only thing is that they should reduce it a little bit. It helps to create more parking spaces around the town. It also saves a lot of time because many people had to be driving around until they find  parking. I also find that it has eased the congestion a lot. At the corner of Regent and King streets which was always busy, does not need a police there any longer.’

Oswald Benjamin, painter,

Oswald Benjamin, painter,

‘I think the parking meter is a bad implementation because the population, especially the taxi drivers, cannot handle it. If it was $50 an hour it probably would have been easier. City Council is barely making 20 percent of the revenue. If it were like 40 of 50 percent going back to the state, maybe we would have complied more. Most people are running from it. Most naturally they would prefer to park far away and walk to places to transact their businesses. If it continues like that they would not make much money so I think they should rethink the whole deal. It is very expensive and they should have given at least three months notice before implementing it.’

 

Holly Bacchus, vendor,

Holly Bacchus, vendor,

 

‘Generally I think the parking meter system would put order into chaos in Georgetown but it would affect mostly the taxi drivers who are not attached to a service as well as people who have to park and go to work. Their salaries may not be big. I know that they need the revenue to come in so they can develop the town but they should reduce the rate to $20 for half hour.  Another thing is, if you punch in the time and go in the bank, you would not know how long you would spend. This would also affect vendors who transport their own goods or who sell from the back of their vehicles. I don’t know how much they would sell to offset their expenses. If the parking meters are in front of stores, people would hardly go there. Some people who used to drive to work have stopped because their salaries cannot compensate. I personally think this is a big rip off  of the Guyanese populace. They have to find additional parking for the people and one way is to bridge the canal by the Avenue of the Republic where there is always heavy congestion.’

Simone Klass, vendor,

Simone Klass, vendor,

‘The parking meter is a good project because we need the revenue for development. But I think they should reconsider the cost and drop it to at least $20 for half hour; $50 is too much. Working people should also have a concession because their salary may not be very high to afford parking. Single mothers with about three children may have a vehicle for the convenience of dropping them and picking them up from school and still have to park at their workplaces. This would be very tough on them and many have not even finished paying mortgage on their cars. I wonder if all of that was taken into consideration before this project was implemented. City Council should have had more consultations with the people and listen to their concerns before making such a big decision.

This was forced on the people and a lot of them are avoiding it. They have the cost of living to consider. This is like living above their means so it is better to park at home. Besides, people are finding ways to defeat it, like leaving a driver in the car while they do their business. So I would say; ‘stricter the government, wiser the population’’.

 

Comments  

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