By Delicia Bailey
Motorist, Farida Khan is recalling with disappointment, her first time interfacing with the new regulated parking system in the City.
It was on Wednesday last (February 1, 2017) that she parked outside the Guyana Stores on Water Street, paid for her time, placed her ticket in the windshield and proceeded to conduct her business, only to have her vehicle clamped while still having more than half an hour remaining on her card.
This incident was widely discussed and circulated on social media after a photograph of the woman’s ticket and the citation was shared.
News Room reached out to Smart City’s Solutions (SCS) PR representative, Kit Nascimento, who said based on his partial investigation, it was determined that Ms. Khan failed to display the ticket and as a consequence, the vehicle got booted.
However, Ms. Khan is adamant that her ticket was displayed although it may have been upside down at the time.
“It (ticket) was there but it was upside down, you know, but as I said I went out there before they put the padlock on the wheel and I showed them and they still went ahead and do what they had to do,” Ms. Khan said.
She says there was no need for the man to boot her vehicle and she explained this to him. This incident Ms. Khan said has caused her much embarrassment and wasted time as her vehicle was released some two hours later. And that too, after repeated calls to the company.
“I was there for over two hours, feeling embarrassed because I didn’t do nothing wrong, is the first time and I explained and told him it was the first time I was using the meter system…and I made sure that I put it (ticket) there and I’m trying to get my business done before Guyana Stores closes.”
The woman believes that the Smart City employee was drunk with power; “Maybe he had enjoyed it, me begging him…he just enjoyed the whole thing as being powerful.”
Mr. Nascimento on the other hand believes that this incident could serve as a reminder to motorists about the proper display of their tickets. “People need to be reminded that they must display their ticket as part of the procedure otherwise there is no way of knowing whether the car has in fact been paid for.”
He insists that Ms. Khan failed to do this which is why her car was booted and affirming it was not a mistake.
Since this incident, he says the parking meter company has taken the decision to photograph the vehicles that do not have tickets on display but are parked in regulated spaces.
Regulated parking in the City has and continues to be a contentious issue that has invoked the ire of citizens to the point of a massive street protest and letter-writing campaign.
Even the usually silent, Private Sector Commission has condemned the project which sees motorists paying for parking from Monday to Saturday between 07:00 hours to 19:00 hours with the exception of Sundays and Holidays.
The legality of the project is also in question as the City By-laws which had to be amended to include the project are still awaiting the Attorney General’s and Cabinet’s nod of approval. These By-laws have so far only been signed off by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan.
The By-laws are also still to be published in the Official Gazette.