Hamilton parking charges set to increase
New parking rates for the City of Hamilton go into effect next Monday.
Street parking will be raised 25 cents, to $2 an hour; the cost of using car parks will rise by 50 cents per hour. All-day parking is to increase by $2. The city will also move away from the parking voucher system now in place the electronic EasyPark system will be the only payment method moving forward.
Motorists on the streets of Hamilton were yesterday surprised by the move.
Kevin Simmons said the new fees would make life tougher for residents.
He said: “What's happening is [the City of Hamilton is] scrounging to make money, and they're trying to put that onto us. I don't think people will lose jobs because of it, but hopefully our wages are going to increase so that we can cope with all these extra costs. It wasn't cheap parking in Hamilton, but now I can imagine a point where people start parking out at the Arboretum and walking into town, because it's getting to be too much.”
HSBC employee Miriam Simmons said she wasn't surprised to hear the rates had increased. She said she made a point of driving into Hamilton as little as possible. “I work in Hamilton and I use the ferry to get to work for that exact reason. It's too expensive and there's nowhere to park. I very seldom come into Hamilton on a Saturday unless I absolutely have to. Well, now I have another reason [not to].”
City of Hamilton Mayor Charles Gosling announced in December that parking would rise by 14 to 40 percent. The City then promised a campaign to alert the public of the upcoming changes would soon follow.
The Royal Gazette broke the news of the increase to several people we spoke with. “Wallace” said he worked outside of Hamilton and had to travel through the city to get to and from his job.
“I guess it's inevitable. The Island's got to make money somehow. There's nobody here nowadays except residents, so by default we're the ones who end up paying.
“Something was bound to go up. To be honest with you, I stopped paying attention when the parking fees went up the last time. By that point, I wasn't driving any more, so this won't affect me now what happens to the bus affects me, and that's the extent of my transportation.”
Shawn Place, who works as a DJ, said raising parking fees seemed to be designed to discourage people from driving and it was working.
“I try not to be driving. I prefer to use the bus to get around, but I do have to come into town to DJ sometimes. Everything's going up; everybody's trying to pinch pennies. We're experiencing it Island-wide with everything, especially with food, now with this. And if they're going to get rid of vouchers, that's another expense they're making people buy these electronic devices on top of everything else.”
Parking rates in the city were last increased in 2008, when the cost of vouchers rose from $1 to $1.75.
“Once the current supply of parking voucher booklets is depleted, we will not order new stock. This means the use of the EasyPark electronic meters will become mandatory in the City of Hamilton,” said Ed Benevides, the city's chief operating officer.
Residential and handicapped parking permits will not be affected by the rate increase.
Useful web links: www.cityhall.bm, www.cityofhamilton.bm.