Durban Pavilion's pay parking affects visitors, guards
One of Durban's biggest shopping centres has got many of its patrons fuming by introducing pay parking.
Boom gates have been installed at the Pavilion shopping centre in Westville, and the mall's 1.8 million monthly visitors now have to pay a minimum of R5 for parking.
Regular visitor, Shaun McCall, said the centre was charging too much.
"I paid more than R50 last week," said McCall, adding he goes to the mall on business.
Westville resident, Linda Moore, said the mall should offer one hour of free parking.
"Why must we pay for parking? This is rubbish," she said.
It's not only the pay parking that has got many hot and bothered, but also the traffic jams that the new policy has caused, as motorists battle to get in or out of the parkades.
But Pavilion management is confident that the boom gates and pay parking are a good thing.
"Combined with the parking guidance system [electronic boards that display available parking], we reduce the carbon footprint of the mall," said general manager, Anton Dekker. "Customers use less fuel looking for parking and we use less electricity where we can turn facilities off if a parking area is not used during offpeak hours."
Dekker said the new system had been synchronised with the traffic lights near the centre to ensure better flow of traffic. The centre said it was confident patrons would see the benefits soon.
Pensioners might be given free access cards at certain hours of the day.
The new policy is also affecting car guards because their incomes have dipped since the installation of the boom gates.
A car guard told the Daily News the booms had severely reduced his earnings to the point that it made little sense to continue.
Dekker said the car guards had now been converted to parking attendants to help patrons with trolleys and manoeuvring around the parking lot. Patrons should pay if they were satisfied with their service, he said, because they were not on a payroll.
Dekker said the centre was not ripping off the public, but was offering a world class "shopping experience".