A new era is dawning on the Newcastle CBD, with the installation of a brand-new parking system being implemented as of July 1.
On Tuesday morning, June 25, 74 Car Marshalls were welcomed at Newcastle Municipality. Their mission? To prepare for the daunting job of taking to Newcastle’s CBD and charging people for parking.
This comes after a parking tender was awarded to Traffic Management Services (TMS) in May 2018. This was followed by the streets in the CBD being marked and the GIS mapping being done during August 2018 in the first phase of the project.
In March 2018, TMS began with infrastructure development and the installation of tags (sensors) in the CBD.
TMS then began the employment process by placing a vacancy advertisement in local media, with a staggering 310 CVs being brought in.
At the launch, Vernon Joshua of TMS explained the 74 Car Marshalls were initially unemployed. But through the implementation of the parking system, they will now be able to contribute to the economy, while maintaining a certain degree of order in town.
They will be armed with machinery in order to print slips to show that a motorist has paid for a parking spot, while they run their respective errands. Very much like the old days where parking metres decorated the streets.
According to Joshua, there are several benefits to this system. These include:
- Employment and personal growth for the unemployed within the CBD
- Safe parking for motorists
- Reduce and minimise criminal activities via the Crime Monitors
- Optimal use of parking facilities, as parking bays, will now see a turnover per hour
- A source of revenue for the Newcastle Municipality. As a percentage of the monies for the parking spots, will go to the municipality.
But what are the tariffs motorists will pay when going to the CBD?
For 30 minutes, motorists will have to pay R4. And R8 for an hour.
A further proposal of R3 per 30 minutes and R6 for an hour for off-street parking was also proposed.
Chief of Traffic Services, Ashok Anandhaw says this is a special moment in that motorists will no longer find parking an ordeal in town.
While in high spirits about the initiative, Newcastle Municipality and TMS were met with anger on Monday night, June 24.
A public meeting was held at the town hall on Monday evening, in order for TMS and the Municipality to introduce the system to the community.
Members of the community voiced several concerns. These issues include:
- What will happen to the car guards who have been servicing the Newcastle community for several years, as this will see a number of them being eliminated from their only source of income?
- Will pensioners have to pay the same tariffs as other motorists?
- Will this new system see motorists now avoiding the CBD as to avoid paying the tariffs?
- Who will be enforcing the implementation of the fines if people refuse to pay or their metres expire?
Several others declared they would not pay the tariffs and said the initiative would not work.
“We are disgruntled and when people are disgruntled, we will know what to do in 2021,” said one community member.
During the launch of the initiative on Tuesday, it was cleared up that the municipality’s traffic services would be overseeing the initiative.
With the project set to bring about a sense of change within the CBD, Newcastle Municipality further welcomed 10 new traffic officers within its fold on Tuesday. These officers will now be joining the traffic officers within the municipality to ensure law and order are upheld.
What are your thoughts on the new parking system? Do you feel it will benefit the CBD and the community? Or do you feel it will prove to be detrimental to the CBD? Share your views and thoughts with us in the comment section below.