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Empty spaces; Citizens react to paid parking within City

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Today was the first time drivers were required to pay for parking within Central Georgetown but citizens found a way to deal with what was described as “burdensome”, as many empty parking spaces were available for those willing to pay the required fee.

Private Car on No Parking Lines in front of GBTI, Water Street

 

After months of obstacles, when it comes to the implementation of the parking meter project, motor vehicle users are now required to pay for parking within the city.

On January 24, most of the parking spaces identified by Smart City Solutions (SCS) were empty but there was no visible ticket on the dashboard of vehicles parked within those spaces.

To defend the SCS, Spokesperson, Kit Nascimento said the company will be lenient with users as they become familiar with the parking meters and the enforcement will take effect shortly. however, he said he could not determine how soon that will be.

Prepaid disposable Parking Meter card

 

As the reality steps in, vendors who ply their trade in vehicles along Water Street are still concerned that they have two choices; either pay the parking fees or relocate their operations elsewhere.

One Vendor who has operated within this area for the last 25 years out of fear of being victimised spoke with the News Room off camera. She said the fees can only be seen as an additional burden.

The woman explained that she uses her small mobile business on Water Street to take care of her seven children.

“But to be honest they came up in society seeing us struggling and going, ah mean I am not complaining that things are good all the time but it was better. Then now here comes the parking meter, all I know is that we wouldn’t be able to pay, so we just trusting God now and hoping for a better way, a mean we would have complained if there was a better price, but at present we cannot handle its too costly” she related.

Parking meter blocked by Vendors on Water Street

The price for parking is $50+VAT for every 15 minutes of parking with a maximum time purchase of up to six hours per day, according to Smart City Solutions.

“To me, it’s quite burdensome that I would say its added burden to the stress we already going through and if there was a better way believe me we would have diverted because at present what can we all do, what can we do we been vending so long” she added.

The Vendor further explained that her concerns along with others in the area were raised at City Hall ever since they got wind of the parking meter project.

“Well what they are saying is that we can’t, they basically giving us a no, no, we either deal with it or I don’t know” she said.

Similar concerns were also raised by another vendor and a taxi driver who were also questioning the logics of the implementation of the parking meter project.

Water Street Vendor

The Vendor said he feels ” well this parking meter system is very, you know is not beneficial to us because the price alone, where you got to pay on an hour, it ain’t easy and yah ain’t making money and I feel they should like, watch at it more and see”

The Taxi Driver told News Room that “I don’t work with a base, Regent Multi complex mall, I can’t work there so long  the parking meter is there, it is ruff that me got to pay for an hour and whatever or 15mins or an half an hour, then go with a passenger for $400 it isn’t working out.”

Regent Street Taxi Driver

 

The controversial solar-powered parking meter project was to be rolled out September last year. This never happened because of concerns regarding the contract signed by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council with Smart City Solutions, allegedly unknowing to several councillors.

After being reviewed by Attorney General Chambers and Ministry of Finance, amendments to the contract and updating of the city by-laws all seems to be in place for the meters to fully function.

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