Tauranga City Council is raising the cost of leasing carparks in the CBD in a move one disgruntled customer says demonstrates inept planning.
Leased parking customers will be advised of the fee increase this week, says a council communications advisor.
A city centre worker told SunLive about the fee increase last week. They have leased a Spring Street carpark since 2015 when it cost $110 a month for unallocated parking.
“This increased to $130 a month immediately after Trustpower relocated, when parking issues really became apparent,” says the city centre worker.
“After the increase we were initially told that we wouldn't be guaranteed a park - this policy was quickly changed after a large number of complaints from lease-holders, and we were given a numbered park that was covered.
“Then early last week we received a letter informing us that our parks were being moved to the roof which is uncovered and incredibly inconvenient to those that work until late hours in the winter.
“After writing a complaint I was informed that we would soon receive communication indicating that the parking charge is increasing to $180 a month.”
Within the space of six months their parking would have increased by 38 per cent or $600 a year, or $840 over an 18 month period.
“This is a lot of money for a single income family paying a mortgage, and rates which incidentally have gone up 90 per cent in nine years.
“I can only assume that casual parking charges will increase as well given the upcoming charges would make leasing uneconomical.”
Fees are a tool to help manage the parking demand, says city transportation manager Martin Parkes. Leased parking fees are reviewed annually.
“Over the past year the council has significantly improved the level of service in both parking buildings,” says Martin. The new price for uncovered parks will be $160 per month. The new price for covered parks will be $180 per month.
“For that price customers get a guaranteed park in the city centre at a competitive rate,” says Martin.
The draft Annual Plan includes a proposal to increase the early bird rate for both parking buildings to $10 per day.
There are 1,839 council controlled off-street car parks in the city centre, 674 of these are leased (339 uncovered, 335 covered).
The $160/$180 figures apply to the upper floor customers at the Spring and Elizabeth Street buildings. Leased prices around the city vary according to location and are cheaper further away from the city centre.
Lease holders were moved to the top of the Elizabeth Street building last year, says Martin.
“It works a lot better for everyone when we keep the middle floors of the parking buildings available for casual parking customers.
“We moved lease holders to the top of the Elizabeth Street building last year and it has worked really well. The current set up at Spring Street creates frustration for casual customers and lease holders alike. We get a lot of complaints, so we're making the same change that has been so helpful at Elizabeth Street.”