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Saturday, 8 March 2014

A Golden Opportunity for Africa Investors – Car Park Spaces Investment @Glasgow Airport, UK Released by Park First UK Ltd in 2014


CAR PARKING SPACES WHICH HAVE BEEN SERVING GLASGOW AIRPORT FOR OVER 15 YEARS HAVE NOW BEEN RELEASED FOR SALE. THE PURPOSE BUILT LONG STAY SECURE AIRPORT CAR PARKING IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.


Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment is now considered a lucrative and profit-earning investment. With the ever-growing increase in the number of roads that are plying on the road there has been an increasing demand in the amount of parking space for cars. The need for such space is growing every single day with the number of car owners increasing each day. Parking these cars has become a real headache and of utmost importance. Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment has been the ideal solution to such problems. 

"Parking is a scarce commodity, and the ability to invest in it is now in the
hands of the individual,"
 Richard delaney, VP of Palladian Development Former developer of the Field Harbour Parking project in Chicago, USA.



Nowadays we can find a lot of people interested in investing in buying property for lending out space for 
Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment. Such Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment is made where there is a lot of population residing and in congested and commercial areas mostly around the centre of the city or hub. Investing in car parking lots around shopping malls are a great idea if you want to make the best profit out of leasing out such parking space. With the rise in the number of cars everyday the price of such parking space is getting costlier and selling like hot cakes.

Park First UK Ltd would like to introduce to Africa Investors a new commercial property opportunity designed for today’s astute investor that is low risk and highly profitable. 

Glasgow Airport Investment Highlights

Such Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment is gaining tremendous popularity and response in other countries like Australia, Dubai and U.S.A. Most of these car parking spaces are leased out on a long term basis within a commercial building or complex. Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment is a good way of getting a consistent and monthly flow of income rate. According to a recent survey and poll, it has been found that the drivers in London followed by the drivers in Glasgow, Birmingham and New Castle spending the maximum amount of time looking and hunting for car parking space. 

The Managing Director/Owner of Complete Parking Services Limited based in Lagos, Nigeria – Mr Wasiu Abiodun Seriki, a highly respected international parking consultant of many international parking awards and also a shrewd business man has recently been appointed as Park First products Master Agent in Africa region by Group First UK Limited that owns Park First UK Limited. Mr W.A Seriki states that “Car Park Investment has been a boon in disguise for those owning cars because parking car is really a struggle and troubles-some job in crowded places. Again if the Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment is made in a location which is easy to access and commute and it can reap great benefits for the same reason. So while investing in space to be rented out for car parking make sure that is located as such that car owners can drive in easily like that of Glasgow Airport without the distance and space being a hindrance.  It would be a great investment for African Investors who are looking at safe overseas investment with great returns and a zero maintenance cost”.



Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment is diversified property investment as we can find more and more people taking the risk of Car Park Investment or Car Parking Investment. Countries like New Zealand and Australia are also showing great interest in making such investments apart from US & UK. This goes to prove that it is a really booming business venture which can actually help you in earning the maximum profit and gain. There is no doubt in the fact that it will entail you to reach newer heights in your business making goals.












Credit: Africa News Online

Please note the following:

- Mr W.A Seriki is now recruiting Glasgow Airport, UK car park spaces investment sales sub-agents in Africa who will be placed on 4% commission for every space sold and he can be reached via +2348132480941 or wasius@completeparkingservices.com

- Interested Investors from Africa may also contact Park First UK Ltd direct via their website www.parkfirst.com

- Prospective Investors are advised to seek legal advise from their lawyers before embarking on any investment.

- For Glasgow Airport, UK, Investors can only make payment to Park First UK Ltd not to a Master Agent or a Sub-Agent.





Wednesday, 12 December 2012

AN EFFECTIVE COST-CUTTING APPROACH TO MANAGING PARKING IN RETAIL OUTLETS IN AFRICA




In a tight economy such as those experienced in most African countries, parking garages in retail shopping malls like "Shoprite" are getting more creative when it comes to cost-saving measures. They’re utilizing efficient lighting and cost-effective access security measures such as parking access revenue control system (PARCS) to deter illegal parkers. They’re also reducing the cost of managing their car parks with the use of parking attendants from a professional parking firm rather than security companies whose labor costs are usually greater and might lack the appropriate parking skills required to manage and control activities in their parking garages. For example, in Lagos Nigeria at Ikeja Shopping Mall popularly known as “Shoprite”, managed by the South Africa/Nigeria property managing company called Broll Nigeria Limited, the property agents outsourced their security management to Pavillion Security company at a cost of N100K per month per manpower while the malls parking garage is been managed by Servest Parking company at a cost of about N70K per month per manpower. With this estimation an average of N7.2M is been saved by the property agents yearly for an average of 20 manpower employed aside the benefits of using a professional company to handle its parking. This cost saving won’t have been so if both job functions were managed by the security company. Similar cost-saving effect is currently experienced in South Africa and Ghana.

One effective, yet often overlooked, cost-saving measure involves a thorough evaluation of parking operating expenses and implementing measures to reduce these expenses. A recent survey sheds light on what it cost to operate a typical parking facility. Data was taken from operating statements from 22 different parking structures located in Africa, including profit and loss statements filed between 2009 and 20011. Operating costs were converted to a per-space basis by dividing the annual cost by the number of parking spaces to provide a per unit cost comparison between structures. This article provides detailed expense line items typically associated with parking and what Shopping Malls & Hotels can do to decrease them. One of most common cost leaders is labor. Staff costs are unique to each parking structure and vary based on a number of factors, including geographic location, the level of service provided, and if the facility utilizes parking access and revenue control systems (PARCS).



Labor costs
One of most common cost leaders is labor. Staff costs are unique to each parking structure and vary based on a number of factors, including geographic location, the level of service provided, and if the facility utilizes parking access and revenue control systems (PARCS). For many parking owners, technology can provide an effective cost-saving solution. Pay-on-foot technology, or example, gives parkers the ability to pay at stations prior to returning to their vehicles. This technology can help reduce, or even eliminate, the need for revenue control staff at exits. Some parking structures have even gone cash-free in recent years, further reducing the need for staff. These structures have parkers to pay by credit card either at pay-on-foot kiosks or in exit lanes.

Equipment costs
Security equipment & their installations can also account for significant expenses. The use of such equipment for security purposes installed by professionals is more likely to be provided in areas that demand a higher level of service. For example the use of CCTV controls, LPR, automated cashiering, etc, located in areas subject to crime can be very much effective. While security equipment is often a high-cost item, it’s not necessarily advisable to cut back on this expense. Parking garage owners must evaluate their own unique security needs before deciding whether to cut back and, if so, by how much. Reducing overall security in parking environment can lead to a number of unanticipated consequences, including higher legal costs due to increased liability and lost business if patrons perceive that the structure isn’t safe.

Maintenance costs
Maintenance is another high-cost, yet essential expense. Improperly maintained structures often suffer from equipment failure and concrete degradation, and need to be replaced or repaired much sooner than they otherwise wood. In the case of cutting back on maintenance, it’s easy to be penny wise but pound foolish.
Maintenance costs typically cover routine cleaning and upkeep, structural repairs, and PARCS equipment care. Routine or daily maintenance includes sweeping and washing surfaces, light painting, replacing light bulbs, cleaning offices and public areas, repainting line stripes, and maintaining landscaping and plants. Some parking structures hire a professional cleaning firm to provide routine maintenance; most provide and supervise the staff directly. Equipment maintenance is not always reported on profit and loss statements. With new PARCS installations there is typically a one-year warranty or extended service contract. Depending on the age and complexities of the PARC system, the owner may or may not opt for the service contract. Other equipment that requires regular maintenance includes elevators, escalators, and moving walkways. Structural maintenance is another item that is not always reported on profit and loss statements. These costs may be paid directly by the owner or coded as capital costs due to the high expense. It’s recommended that owners establish a “sinking fund” of N5K ($30) to N12K ($75) per space annually to cover structural maintenance.



Despite all this, there are ways to cut maintenance costs. For example, parking owners can upgrade existing lighting fixtures to high efficient florescent, induction, or LED lighting fixtures, which can provide improved visibility at a significantly lower operating cost. The savings are potentially substantial enough that it may be possible to have a new lighting system installed with little or no upfront costs in exchange for a payment made from the monthly utility savings. Lighting typically represents the largest utility cost in a parking structure, especially for below-grade or enclosed structures. Parking administrators can also lower costs for utilities such as phone services, internet access, and water and sewer services. Electricity costs are influenced by the geographic area, as well as the type of lighting system. For example, in 2011 the average commercial retail price of electricity per kilowatt-hour in Nigeria ranged from N1K – N5K per kilowatt-hour. The highest costs were found in the Lagos and Rivers states. These two areas represents the most viable commercial areas in Nigeria aside the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

Accounting and banking costs
Accounting and banking costs include any fees associated with banking, accounting, auditing, and credit card fees. Over the years, a parking structure’s banking fees have increased as credit card usage has increased. When credit cards are used, there is a charge from a credit card clearing house, as well as a direct charge from the credit card company. These credit card processing fees vary widely and should be audited to ensure the lowest fees are charged in this highly competitive market. This is especially true since the Durbin Amendment went into effect in October of 2011. The new rules reduce the fees charged to process debit cards, but don’t require the savings to be passed on directly to the merchant. Because the fees are typically established by an agreement, unless that agreement has been updated, the merchant is likely to be on the higher fee schedule and not benefiting from the lower costs. Across the country and most cities in Africa, shopping malls and hotels are being imaginative when it comes to cost-cutting methods. Reducing the price of parking expense items may not be as attractive as arranging competitions to see which dorm can reduce its heating costs the most, but such an approach has proven to be just as effective.



Credit
Author: Mr. W.A Seriki is the current Managing Director (V-Park Management Solution Limited) and he is the foremost Nigeria Parking Consultant trained overseas and highly recognized in the parking industry. The company V-Park provides expertise and professional services in total parking management solutions which also covers the hospitality industry. He can be reached via phone contact (+234) 8132480941 or via email wasiu@v-parkms.com


Note: All Shoprite photos are copyright product from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana. Please seek consent before re-use.



Thursday, 30 August 2012

Kenya: City Hall Begins Tests for Mobile Parking Fees




The City Council of Nairobi yesterday rolled out a pilot project that will see motorists in the city pay for parking using their mobile phones.

The test run will be done by mobile service providers Airtel, Orange and Yu Mobile. Through this project, the hopes to improve on its revenue collection. Customers from other networks will use the semi-automated system by paying through a cash agent system. The car park attendant will pay on behalf of customers into the system.
The project will take place from today for the next three months on Koinange Street. Town Clerk Roba Duba said if the project takes off, it will be "a milestone in improvement of service delivery." Duba was however quick to assure council employees in the parking department that the new system will not lead to job losses.
"We will start with parking tickets whereby motorists will now be required to pay electronically. This success of this system will be replicated in other departments," said Duba. Adding that automation of services at the council is their main goal and revealed failure to collect revenue has been negatively impacting delivery of services.
"The council will for once stop the pilferage of resources where only about 40% of the manually collected cash reach the council coffers. "This system will also stop the efficiency and inconvenience especially in parking where my unscrupulous officers have been playing hide and seek with motorists when they need to pay and attend to other things.

The proposed e-payment is capable of consuming date, identifying and invoicing. One is also be able to get an invoice via the short message services (sms), electronic payment and confirmation while the council can reconcile its accounts and compliance flagging at the touch of a button.
"The potential is high once we go electronic and we target billions. We intend to educate the public on how they can use the services. He added that after the pilot service, the project will be rolled out to afford city residents pay for other services like the single business permits, land rates, health certificates and other invoiced services offered by the council.





Content Credit: allafrica.com News
Photo Credit: flickr.com
31/08/2012

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Parking Scarcity in Africa

A detailed analysis and advice on issues affecting Parking Scarcity in Africa





Africa has undergone an unprecedented rate of motorization. It has now surpassed Asia to become the largest auto market in 2011. As a result, major cities across Africa are undergoing profound urban transformations, as elevated expressway and wide arterials are built to meet motorists’ demands. The car has ingratiated itself in African society; municipal governments are facing increased congestion that is costing them millions in lost revenue. Parking supply management, particularly pricing, could help shift auto dependence to more sustainable alternative modes and reduce congestion (Shoup 2005). This paper addresses the barriers to using parking to reduce auto use in African cities. These Parking Scarcity” as identified include: (1) lack of parking supply (2) weak regulations and intergovernmental conflicts (3) and weak enforcement. All three are interlinked and must be addressed to make full use of parking as a transportation demand management tool.

Strong parking supply management is an important element to running an efficient and sustainable transportation system. Parking cannot be used to its fullest for controlling travel behaviour without having strong enforcement and strong parking guidelines. Strong parking guidelines are worthless unless they are enforced and are in sync with what is happening on the ground. And neither works if the parking supply is insufficient to meet the basic needs of a city. Parking is critical to major African cities as a tool for more sustainable cities to reduce the number of vehicle trips as well as reducing congestion. Recent motorist travel behavioural studies in Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria have shown that once behind the driver’s seat, it is difficult to get drivers out. In a study conducted by V-Park Management Solutions Limited in 2011, over fifty percent of drivers surveyed stated that they lived near a direct bus line to work, yet continued to drive to work. Proximity to public transit was not enough to get them out of their cars. In another study conducted in Johannesburg and Cape Town both in South Africa, driving habits of car owners demonstrated a heavy reliance on auto use (V-Park 2012). Once they bought a car it became an integral part of their daily lives.

Parking Supply Issues
A fundamental problem and the biggest barrier for Africa is a lack of public parking and this can be easily observed in major cities. This has been a key problem for many municipal governments in Africa as they undergo rapid motorization. A recent survey conducted by Step & Mint Limited based in Nigeria reported that Cairo’s public parking infrastructure could only accommodate 5.2 percent of its cars, Lagos 6.7 percent of its cars and Johannesburg had a ratio of 8 cars per public parking space. Alarmingly, major cities in Africa reportedly lacking parking spaces up to 70 percent (Step & Mint 2011). According to parking estimates done during this classified survey by Step & Mint, most cities in Africa could lack up to one million parking spots by 2020. Parking supply problems are twofold. First, there is a general lack of parking spaces throughout African cities. Despite the rapid pace of construction in South Africa, Nigeria and many more developing Africa countries, rising car consumption continuously outpaces it. The overall growth in the car population far exceeds parking infrastructure, particularly public parking. While the overall number of vehicles increased in Nigeria by 11% on average from 2001-2011 (Step & Mint 2012), private cars increased by 14% annually on average. Parking standards have not kept up with demand and are outdated.Older infrastructure lacks parking. City centres and traditional residential developments were built during the bicycle era; only a minimal amount of parking spaces are available in these areas. Taking Millennium Towers(Lagos, Nigeria) as an example, a 12-story building provincial court building along one of its main arterials only had a surface lot of roughly 40 spaces available.
Secondly, the parking spaces that are supplied in most African cities are not necessarily used as efficiently as they could be. For example, public parking spaces that are available often do not have time limits. Thus, a space in a high demand area may be taken for most of the day. This is also tied to enforcement and fee collection issues, which are discussed in more detail in the section following.

Weak Regulations &Intergovernmental Conflicts
Issues surrounding pricing and general parking policies are divided amongst several municipal agencies. For example, if time limits were implemented, enforcement is required. This falls under the Public Security Bureau’s traffic police. The pricing is handled by another department; yet the agencies themselves may not be sure who has final authority. These types of issues arise whether this is public parking or private parking. In conversations with planners, in one city, a private agency oversaw a segment of on-street parking. Conflicts arose between different agencies as to who was responsible for enforcing the parking fees (the private company or the traffic police) and who was responsible for maintaining the on-street spaces (the public works department or the private company). For example, in Abuja, Nigeria when the two local parking companies proceeded to do on-street metered parking, various bureaus like VIO, FRSC, including the FCT Administration, told the public that each of these two local companies will manages different sections on-street parking in the city. In the end, the general public had no idea which bureau or company was responsible for what (V-Park 2012).

Planned but not built
Other reasons for under supply in most African cities include changes to master plans. Even if master plans include parking, it is not a guaranteed that the parking will be built. The city may use those parcels for other types of land development (V-Park 2012). The payoff for parking is difficult to see as quickly as a land development deal where the profits are almost immediate. Real estate development has been a driving force of urbanization; transportation infrastructure is not perceived as profitable, despite its adding value. 

Financing and Public Parking
Public parking faces several hurdles to get built. Financing is difficult to secure as the return on investment will take several years (V-Park 2012). This is connected to current pricing, which does not reflect supply and demand. According to Oyefundun (2011), despite efforts by the FCT Abuja municipal government to encourage the parking market, knowledge and the level of marketization of parking remains low. Intergovernmental conflicts as described above make it a risky investment for investors as it is unclear what government bureau will take charge of the project or has the necessary authority to allow them to provide parking. If the bureaus are at odds, this sends a signal to investors that they may lose out on their investment if problems occur as responsibilities may be passed from one organization to the next. 



Parking Policies
The parking requirements in major African cities are quite basic Seriki (2011). They are not necessarily related to where the building is sited nor are they dynamic enough to be adjusted for growing demand. For example, in Lagos’s parking guidelines, the parking spaces for hotels are based on the rating of the hotel (e.g. one star versus three star) not if it is located in the downtown area or in the financial district area.
In FCT Abuja, Oyefundun (2012) found that parking policies could not address the issue of supply and demand because they are too simple and only consider the location of parking. They are not written to address transportation demand.
Interestingly, they recommended linking public transit to parking to offer motorists an alternative. Lagos has the largest bus corridor public transit system in Africa and has been able to improve speeds and public transit use because of this type of system. If parking is going to be restricted, there has to be a comparable alternative. In addition, because Lagos has closed corridors on some its bus routes like BRT bus lanes, buses can still move while cars are stuck in traffic, providing a compelling image for motorists to choose another mode of transportation.

Parking Enforcement
Policies alone cannot solve African’s parking scarcity. These policies have to be backed by enforcement. Even if African cities were able to adequately supply parking spaces, they would still face an enforcement issue. For instance African cities like Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos to mention a few cannot provide parking at the same level as in UK and United States, nor is this desirable. With that in mind, enforcement becomes even more essential and necessary. Any parking policy hinges on its enforcement; this is a key to ensuring access to spaces and efficient use of available spaces. This is also a major point of contention in most cities in Africa is because of government conflicts over the goals of each bureau. As mentioned before, the regulation of parking in Africa is the nexus of multi-agency conflicts as it requires one agency to build it, another to set the rate, and yet another to enforce parking policy. They may not be in agreement with each other and enforcement suffers.
In addition, pricing also has to be consistent. In some cities in South Africa and Cairo, the on-street parking is cheaper than underground parking. Similar problems have happened in the US and have resulted in more traffic as drivers cruise looking for cheaper parking (Shoup 2006).

Recommendations
Taking into consideration the above-mentioned issues affecting parking scarcity, the following recommendations may help to address these issues. These recommendations are only a starting point and more research is needed to look at possible best practices that will work in most African cities.

1.    Linking Parking and Public Transit
While many have identified (and rightly so) that parking is a major issue in most African cities because it is under supplied, this also brings an opportunity to ensure that parking is not overbuilt. Tied to parking is mass transit as they are both part of a city’s transportation system. If parking is going to be used as a lever for transportation demand management; an alternative for trips has to be high quality mass transit. This means that access to the station needs to be safe. The actual journey on the bus, subway, light rail, needs to be comfortable and safe, not overcrowded. Public transit also needs to be reliable. Real improvements in mass transit need to be implemented. In a study on parking and travel behaviour in the United States, there was a strong link between cities with good public transit systems and parking management systems. Parking was utilized to support public transit (Mildner 1996). 





2.    Diversify Parking Supply
The parking supply needs to be adequate and dynamic. The types of parking provided in African cities need to include both long and short term parking to get the most efficient use of land. Parking with time and price differentials prevents the abuse of these spaces and is another way of control travel behaviour. The issues attached to public parking are related to the types of parking available in cities. If higher demand areas had more limited parking spaces, then public parking facilities that offer longer term parking such as an hour or more would be filling a demand. As it stands now, most parking available in most cities in Africa does not have a time limit.

3.    Financing Public Parking
National policies need to be in place to support these structures as part of the overall effort to support the automobile industry. While it is difficult to finance public parking, the city governments should continue to pursue providing public parking. Having enough spaces in the central business districts provides greater access to local businesses and helps to increase revenue. By allowing for greater FAR (floor area ratio), parking structures could be more profitable. Build-operate and transfer (BOT) models in which the government puts up money to build and then transfers management to private sector are one way to provide increased parking.

4.    New Parking Framework
In the longer term, a new parking management framework is needed for understanding parking’s relationship to the city. Government agencies need to work together collectively to consider the goals of the city. With each new development or redevelopment, they need to consider who will be using the area and ways to increase public transit use in order to support more sustainable urban development.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (2006) provided guidelines and identified best practices to support better parking policies in US cities. They outlined six elements that have to be considered for better parking:
1. Development type and size
2. Development density and design
3. Demographics
4. Availability of transportation choices
5. Surrounding land use mix
6. Off-site parking

Taking these into consideration, the municipal government agencies that oversee parking must work together to address these issues as multiple agencies are impacted by and have influence over parking. Responsible bureaus need to be working together and a clear delineation of power and responsibilities defined to ensure better coordination as well as the possibility of more investment. National parking standards should serve as guidelines; local cities should focus on creating unique parking policies that address their local needs and goals and adjust these guidelines and implement maximum parking requirements once adequate parking supply is reached to avoid the oversupply of parking.

5.    Improving Standards through Studies
Parking studies need to be conducted in cities to understand current parking behaviours and issues. Each city has its own unique parking characteristics. In addition, the type of land uses and their proximity will also impact use. If cities conducted parking surveys that included sampling workers in high-density areas, this could provide insight into actual demand for parking structures in this city as well as the need to push for incentives such as transit passes/checks for employees. In satellite cities across Africa, which are being built from the ground up, minimum-parking requirements impact their urban form, which has been experienced in the US (Shoup and Manville, 2005). Thus, parking studies would be useful for monitoring use and establishing policies that would reduce car dependence.

6.    Linking Parking and Employee Parking
One of the perks for employees is free parking. In cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and regions such as the Bay Area in California, businesses provide their employees with transit subsidies for taking alternative forms of transportation, such as public transit, walking, or biking. These types of incentives could be used in conjunction with other policies to reduce auto dependence and parking demand (Shoup 1995). Such is yet to be experienced in most cities in Africa.

7.    Carsharing for Government Fleets
Government employees should be encouraged to use public transit or to car share. While private cars are increasing at a significant rate, the majority of cars registered in major cities are government cars. Shifting to carsharing will parking demand, reduce trips, improve congestion and reduce pollution. The City of Berkeley replaced its government car fleet with car share vehicles. They saved $250,000 in the first three years of the program (Mtc 2007). A majority of the cars in major cities are government cars. By utilizing carsharing, even for smaller units of government, would reduce demand for parking as well as traffic congestion.

In-conclusion, parking scarcity put right could offer municipal governments another tool to address congestion and put their cities on a more sustainable development path. However, as outlined above, several issues exist that thwart governments from using this powerful tool: low parking supply, weak policy, and weak enforcement. All three are linked- without an adequate supply; parking cannot be used to its fullest as a lever. Still an adequate supply does not guarantee spaces will be used efficiently and profitably unless strong enforcement and strong parking guidelines are in place. Strong parking guidelines are worthless unless they are enforced and are in sync with what is happening on the ground. At the crux of the parking issue are intergovernmental conflicts that must be addressed so that regulations, enforcement, and supply issues are ameliorated. A new policy framework that requires increased collaboration and cooperation amongst municipal planning agencies and field experts are needed in most cities in Africa. Once these issues are addressed, the issues surrounding parking scarcity can be reduced to acceptable level. 




Author: Mr. W.A Seriki is the current Managing Director (V-Park Management Solution Limited) and he is the foremost Nigeria Parking Consultant trained overseas and highly recognized in the parking industry. The company V-Park provides expertise and professional services in total parking management solutions which also covers the hospitality industry. For more information please contact info@v-parkms.com or visit [Image]http://www.v-parkms.com


NB: This publication is subject to international copyright laws and no attempt must be made to copy or duplicate its content without written request approved by the author.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Parking Fees Decrease Caused Controversy among Parking Staff in Monrovia


For the second time in a row this month, a noisy protest held opposite the Foreign Ministry building in Monrovia on Monday disrupted traffic grabbed the attention of drivers passing by. It was the latest controversy this week surrounding the Monrovia City Corporation’s (MCC) recent plan to charge fees for people to park their cars in certain areas of the city.

Students working as parking attendants who would normally be checking vehicles for fees paid instead held placards protesting against the City Parking Management’s (CPM) new policy lowering wages, which they argue violates labor laws.

While some parking attendants are on strike, others told FPA that they don’t think management’s decision is wrong.

One of the demonstrators named Jiphine Gehyigon told FrontPageAfrica that the protest was organized to empower students and tell legislators that they needed fair pay or else their school fees would turn them into slaves.











According to a document circulated at the protest, CPM has revised its pay scales for parking attendants.  Whereas parking attendants formerly received a flat wage of US$60 per month, their monthly salaries will now start at US$30 for 301 hours of work per month and increase on the basis of their performance on the job.

Samuel Dorbor, a parking attendant on the picket line, said that management told them that they would now work for a minimum of US$30, with more to come on the basis of a commission scheme.

Dorbor explained that one has to sell 200-250 tickets in one month to make the minimum US$30, and sell 500-550 tickets per month to make the maximum US$75. He described selling 500-550 tickets as “difficult to achieve.”

Dorbor also pointed out that parking attendants’ jobs are being made difficult by monthly permits that the CPM is issuing, which allow pass holders to park anywhere without paying a cent to attendants.

“We had several meetings with management but they seemed not to care,” Dorbor claimed. “So we decided that nobody must work today and that is our decision.”

CPM was previously criticized for what some people argued were unnecessarily high fees. That caught the attention of legislators and Monrovia Mayor Mary Broh, who subsequently reduced parking fees from LD$50 per hour to LD$30 per hour.

Speaking on behalf of CPM on the latest controversy of parking attendant wages, spokesperson Abaku Tumban said that the introduction of the new wage policy is to maintain and hopefully increase the number of university students for whom there is room in the program.

“The funning thing about this is that the attendants have not tried the policy yet to known whether it can work or not,” Tubman said. She explained that the paid parking policy is new and that there have been problems paying workers what was originally promised based on the amount of revenue that the program is bringing in.

“In order to maintain the number of parking attendants that we have, we needed to push harder than expected to make sure that everybody is delivering at the same performance,” she explained. Tubman said that some parking attendants were not working as hard as others, and that the cuts in wages are an attempt to see that all attendants are paid fairly.

“We are trying to make sure that everybody is delivering at the same performance,” she emphasized. Tubman also stressed that it’s not all parking attendants taking part in the strike.

“The reality is, this morning, when we woke up and saw them striking, we called a meeting at 11:00 a.m.,” she recounted. “And only a few of them showed up.”

While some parking attendants are on strike, others told FPA that they don’t think management’s decision is wrong. Parking attendant Amstrong Wesseh said that he thought the policies introduced by management will encourage attendants to take their jobs seriously.

“I want to be frank with you,” he said. “They (CPM) are not attracting seriousness to this work, but only people who want to receive money at the end of the month.” Tubman issued a warning to those who she described as not wanting to work.

“We are not going to keep people who are a liability,” she said. “If your boss gives you a challenge and it is tough but you do not deliver without even trying, I think that that says something about your character.”

Watch out for more updates...








Credit: Monrovia wire
19/06/2012