Southland Shopping Centre introduces paid parking on Monday 16th October.
But before you reach for the pitchforks, it only applies if shoppers stay more than three hours.
You get the first three hours for free, with an extra hour if you’re going to a movie. Beyond that, it’s basically $3 per additional hour.
It uses number plate recognition, so if your stay is free, or you’ve pre-registered with a credit card on their web site, the boom will raise and let you out automatically. Otherwise you have to pay as you leave.
The details are all here: parkwestfield.com.au — it’s clear from the site that they’ve got this running at a number of Westfield centres around the country, so you’d think they have a fair idea of what it might do to shopper numbers.
Stupidly, the link to rates and conditions at Southland specifically keeps changing, and going up and down like a yoyo. Sometimes you get a 404 error, sometimes it goes to a page with no useful details on it, and just occasionally the actual information appears. So here it is reproduced:
EXTRA HOUR FREE FOR CINEMA – Customers who see a movie at Village Cinemas Southland will get one extra hour of free parking with cinema ticket validation.
FREE ENTRY AFTER 6pm – Parking is free when you enter the car park after 6pm and leave before 6am, meaning there’s plenty of time for dinner and a movie.
SAME DAY RE-ENTRY – If you exit the centre and want to return on the same day, there must be one hour between exit and re-entry in order to receive another three hours free parking.
DISABILITY PARKING – Shoppers with a valid Disability Parking Permit can register for Ticketless Parking to receive free parking all day. If you hold a permit you can visit one of our Concierge to have it validated to access free parking.
Skip the pay stations and register for Ticketless Parking for a quick and easy exit.
0 – 3 hrs Free
3 – 4 hrs $3
4 – 5 hrs $6
5 – 6 hrs $9
6 – 7 hrs $12
7 – 8 hrs $15
8+ hrs Maximum Day Rate / Overnight Fee $18
So what’s prompted this? Fees are being introduced now to prevent people using the centre car park as a station car park when the station opens in November. In that context, three hours for free makes sense.
Personally I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than three hours at Southland, except when I’ve been seeing a movie. So I don’t have a problem with this.
However, they’re also introducing paid parking for staff. They’ll be shunted to a special staff car park, and charged $5 per day.
I’ll use the train to get to Southland, but it’s not like everybody will be able to.
The buses (particularly on weekends) will still be as pathetically infrequent as they are now.
Many staff will continue to have no viable choice but to drive.
So stinging staff $5 just seems greedy, given many retail workers are not particularly well-paid. Especially for junior part time employees, this would eat into their pay.
Okay, now you can reach for your pitchfork. Or at the very least, sign this petition.