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The Cost of Parking in Cape Town's CBD view my fines

The Cost of Parking in Cape Town’s CBD

In the bustling streets of Cape Town’s Central Business District (CBD), finding a parking spot is only half the battle – paying for it is another. Parking marshals, positioned at nearly every corner, are tasked with collecting fees for street parking. This routine task, however, often raises questions and concerns among motorists, particularly regarding the fairness and enforcement of these fees.

Behind the Scenes: Who Manages the Parking Fees?

The responsibility of managing street parking in Cape Town’s CBD falls to a private entity, Street Parking Solutions (SPS), subcontracted by the City of Cape Town. These marshals, employed by SPS, are a common sight along the roads of the CBD. Attempts to engage SPS for comments were met with refusal, but the City of Cape Town, overseeing the parking laws, provided insights.

The 2010 City of Cape Town Parking By-law states, “The City may manage parking and collect any fees related to parking or appoint a service provider to manage parking and to collect fees related to parking.” It further clarifies that non-compliance with parking fee payment is an offence.

Consequences of Non-Payment

Councillor Brett Herron, City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member of Transport and Urban Development, emphasizes the legal implications of not paying for parking. <q>If the driver fails to pay for parking, he/she has committed an offence and can be fined by an enforcement officer,</q> Herron explains. However, this enforcement depends on the presence of an officer at the time of the offence. Herron also notes that SPS is not part of the traffic department, meaning they cannot issue fines for unpaid parking tickets.

The Impact on Parking Marshals

The issue of unpaid parking tickets potentially affecting the marshals’ salaries has been a topic of debate. Cape Town Labour Lawyer, Michael Bagraim, advocates for motorists to pay their parking fees, citing past mistreatment of marshals by their employers. I’m saying to the public that it’s absolutely awful to do it because the person who actually loses out is the marshal, not the company. They just deduct it from the marshal’s salary. Marshals are the people that suffer and not the company itself, says Bagraim.

Contrastingly, Herron refutes this, stating that marshals are not responsible for covering the cost of unpaid parking fees. However, he acknowledges that their income is directly impacted by these fees, as marshals retain revenue collected above a certain threshold.

The Reason Behind Vehicle Photographs

Marshals often photograph vehicles’ number plates, a practice that Herron clarifies is for logging transactions, similar to methods used in parking management at shopping centres and airports. This data is not used for tracking or issuing fines, as SPS is not linked to the Traffic Department.

What Happens When a Marshal is Absent?

In instances where a marshal is not present upon a driver’s arrival, a “pay and display” process is employed. Drivers will find a payment-due notice on their windscreen and are expected to settle the fee with the nearest available marshal before departing. While it’s not the driver’s responsibility to seek out a marshal, Herron urges consideration for these workers, whose livelihoods depend on these fees.

This situation in Cape Town’s CBD highlights the complexities and challenges of urban parking management, balancing the needs of the city, private companies, motorists, and the marshals who are often caught in the middle.

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