Ticket parking returns - igniting debate in Bunbury CBD
A debate regarding the impact of parking meters on residents and businesses in the South West has been reignited following the Bunbury City Council’s reinstatement of ticket parking this week.
Ticketed and paid parking had been suspended since March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a move which many CBD visitors, including Rachel Norman, pictured, welcomed.
Situated in the Bunbury CBD, Hair Bar + Me owner Stephanie Louise Bill said her retail sales were considerably higher during COVID-19.
“When the parking machines were taped up, everyone was happy, there were parking bays available and people even popped in to buy retail products because they didn’t have to bother grabbing a ticket,” she said.
“It’s not only just the clients that are my concern, it’s also my staff members.
We finish at 10pm some nights and they are having to walk to a dark, scary, unlit, unsecured car park at the opposite side of town, sometimes in the rain. Just before the pandemic, one of my staff members, who only just turned 21, got back to her car only to realise it had been broken into, it’s just not safe.
Ms Bill said she racked up more than $2000 worth of parking fines in the last year.
“My clients are stressed and looking at their watch and aren’t interested in us upselling anything because they’re on a restricted time frame,” she said.
“If the city is going to charge for parking and monitor it so ridiculously, they need to think about how many bays there actually are that are close to town.”
Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan says the objective of ticketed parking is not a revenue-raising exercise but purely to maintain vehicle movement in the CBD and help revitalise the city centre.
“Any money obtained from parking goes into the city’s parking reserve to maintain/upgrade parking facilities and for possible future parking developments,” he said.
“A number of visitors and retailers in the CBD indicated difficulty in obtaining parking over the past few weeks as restrictions have eased.
With a ticketed system it allows sufficient turnover of parking space in the CBD to accommodate everyone, particularly those visiting the CBD and local businesses.
For residents of Bunbury over the age of 65, Mr Brennan said there was a concessional parking permit available for use in the CBD.
“The City encourages people to download and use the mobile application PayStay, which allows parking without the need to obtain a ticket,” he said.
“The City is currently looking at alternative options for monitored parking in the CBD, recently inviting expressions of interest for a smart parking system to allow for automated monitoring.”
Besides being an inconvenience, I don’t understand what the point of getting a ticket is, it’s a waste of paper and not making money for anyone.
Bunbury resident Michelle O’Callaghan has an elderly friend, who she regularly helps, who refuses to park in the timed parking spots in town.
“My 80-year-old friend has mobility issues and is the kind of customer that will spend money in town,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“But she refuses to park in the two-hour parking spots because she doesn’t want to get out of the car to get a ticket and she is not about to learn how to use the PayStay app on her iPhone that she uses purely to make and take phone calls either.
“Ticket parking is one more thing that the City of Bunbury doesn’t need and is putting people off shopping in town.
“Not having to worry about it during the pandemic was a breath of fresh air.”
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