City of Harare (CoH) in conjunction with a local private company has introduced a new electronic parking system to enhance revenue collection and avoid disputes over collections and clamping in its parking business.
Through its parent company City Parking (Pvt) Ltd, CoH has launched Smart Park Meter, an in-vehicle device that is given to motorists after the payment of a $5 refundable deposit fee as security.
City Parking customer care officer Francis Mandaza explained, “Motorists pre-pay for parking with cash at our distribution points. We load parking time on the device and each time the motorist parks he activates and displays the meter inside the vehicle on the driver’s window.”
He added that the meter starts billing per minute from the pre-loaded amount. When you return to your parked car, the user simply switches the meter off and billing stops. The device’s major advantages are that it is cashless, offers value for money, and is convenient unlike the current hand-held terminals that rely on a parking marshals’ availability.
Mandaza says the existing system will not be phased out. “CoH is now offering motorists different payment platforms that will bring convenience to parking. The jobs of parking marshals will not be affected. In fact, they will perform supervisory roles on compliance by customers using the new system,” he adds.
According to CoH, the new system broadens CoH coverage to areas of the CBD that are not currently monitored and also offers parking services to other local authorities outside Harare.
Parking in the CBD has been a nightmare for motorists. In some cases tempers flare when vehicles are clamped for non-payment of parking fees with motorists alleging that parking marshals are often not available to collect money.
CoH has lost revenue to competition from parking touts and city parking marshal evasion by unscrupulous motorists.
This new system is welcome as CoH had been struggling to manage parking in the CBD. The establishment of Easipark in 2009, a joint venture between Easihold of South Africa and CoH was meant to remedy the state of parking in Harare but the relationship ended when council alleged that it was not getting its share of remittances.
The new devices are available from: City Parking head office (3rd floor Trafalgar Court), Julius Nyerere Parkade, Samora Machel Parkade, Park Lane parking lot, and Fourth Street parking lot.
Image: The new Smart Park meter.