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Motorists’ surprise at new $81 car park fee

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Lornette Simons (Photograph by Sideya Dill)

Motorists have expressed their surprise at the news a fee of $81 will be charged for those who leave their vehicles at the new City Hall car park for more than four hours.

A sign at the location outlining the various charges has prompted a stir on social media.

The rates range from $2 per hour for three hours, a total of $16 for a four-hour stay, and $81 for any longer than that.

Yesterday, the City released a statement advising that the fee was an incentive for motorists to keep their stays short when the paid barrier system becomes fully operational from Monday, August 22.

“Extra tariff charges apply after the three-hour maximum limit, to discourage motorists from overstaying the limit,” it stated. City Hall car park has long been a short-stay parking lot, with a maximum stay of three hours. That remains the case.

“The rate is $2 per hour. Therefore, the first three hours is a total of $6. If a motorist exceeds the three-hour limit, ordinarily they would receive a parking ticket. In this case as the car park barrier system does not require ticketing for overstays, the motorist is charged an additional $10, taking the total to $16 for up to four hours.

“Keeping in mind this is a maximum stay three-hour car park, this can be considered lenient. However, upon reaching and overstaying four hours, the motorist is charged an additional $65 tariff, taking the total fee for four or more hours to $81.

“It is the City’s hope that this car park be used as intended, for stays up to three hours and that the higher tariffs will serve as an incentive to do so. Motorists who stay within the three-hour limit are not impacted in any way by the higher tariffs.”

Yesterday, The Royal Gazette took to the streets of Hamilton to ask motorists if they thought the late fee of $81 was reasonable.

Opinions about the tariff ranged from “simply ridiculous” to others believing that the change would be more convenient for short-term shoppers.

The tariffs were approved in a council meeting on May 4, according to the statement, approved by the minister a week later.

Maria McLeod-Smith

“I first heard about it yesterday and people thought it was a mistake. They were thinking that surely they must mean $18. I know that they don’t want people to park in town for more than four hours. It’s convenient for me because I have staff parking but for some other people it’s not convenient at all. It seems a bit harsh, $81, and they are trying to get more people to park at Bullshead.”

Justin Simmons, 25

“To be honest, I think it is a real nice car park, it looks like there’s more spaces which is convenient for people.

“But no I don’t agree with the $81 charge because there are some people that spend a lot of time in Hamilton and there are some people that would spend more than four hours to shop so I think that it should be increased to at least eight hours. I could understand $50 or something but $81 is too much.”

Francis Cassidy, 76

“I think that the $81 charge is ridiculous but I think they’ve done a good job on the car park. The amount after four hours seems a little out of wack. I don’t agree with that pay scale.”

Koeshon Smith, 25

“I say don’t stay there for four hours, if you do, pay the $81. If you’re coming to town to shop for four hours something is wrong anyway. It’s more convenient for those popping in and out of town. But if you work in town or use City Hall or Par-la-Ville or whatever parking lot on a regular we should have some kind of toll booth with passes so that it’s a different fee for you. If you’re just wandering in town and go over that time you should have to pay the $81.

Lornette Simons

“It seems a little bit over the top. Business will probably benefit from it but if you are a short-term shopper like me you probably won’t want to pay the $81. Sometimes you forget, you get in the shops and you look around and look at your watch and the time is up. I think that I browse more than I spend, especially Christmas time. It’s back-to-school now and people may have their kids with them, may stop to get lunch. So yeah, I will park at Bullshead.”

Francis Cassidy, 76, (Photograph by Sideya Dill)
Justin Simmons, 25, (Photograph by Sideya Dilll)
Koeshon Smith, 25, (Photograph by Sideya Dill)
Maria Mcleod-Smith (Photograph by Sideya Dill)