By Blessings Chidakwa
City Parking has increased central Harare street and casual parking fees by 40 percent to $70 an hour from January 2, Saturday next week, as it tries to inch towards the US$1 an hour it wanted in July and was forced to backtrack to $50 an hour.
The company set up and owned by Harare City Council to manage street parking, parkades and car parks tried in July to unilaterally hike its charges to US$1 an hour, or the auction equivalent, from $20, as most motorists boycotted street parking. Two weeks later, after having done consultations with the public, it settled for $50 which it has now hiked.
City Parking announced the latest increase in a statement yesterday.
The parking firm also encouraged motorists who park for long duration should make use of their safe, secure and affordable parkades and parking lots.
Harare City Council some time ago reversed the old policy that the parking account should only be used to maintain and expand parking, which is how the two parkades were funded, and instead now uses the heavy daily cash-flow from parking to subsidise other spending.
But City Parking can set its own pay scales and buy vehicles and other assets without getting council approval, since legally it is a private limited company.
Combined Harare Residents Association director Mrs Loreen Mupasiri-Sani recently said it was good to engage more stakeholders before hiking fees.
Harare Residents Trust chairman Mr Precious Shumba said as long as the City Parking finances are handled separately from the Finance Department, there is going to be continuous abuse of City Parking revenues by the private company board and management who lack accountability through the council committee system.
Mr Shumba recently said while the reviewed new parking fees are largely designed to cushion City Parking workers of their earnings, they will not likely improve the services being rendered by the company.
“Most streets do not have visible street markings, the on-street parking markings are blurred and very little is being remitted to the City of Harare to cushion ratepayers,” he said. The Herald