Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Crossing the line

The best shopping centre round here is Chermside and they have done a bastard thing. Recently Westfield (the owners of Chermside) installed paid parking, and unveiled plans to do the same in all their shopping centres in the future, just in time for Christmas. They are even charging the staff who work there a flat weekly fee. Their reasoning was that too many people were using their facilities to park and ride to work, rather than shopping. This left an inadequate amount of car parks for shoppers and it was the only thing they could do to prevent this.

Now paid parking is one of those things... many states have it here and so do many places around the world. The difference is those places have public transport and/ or validated parking. Chermside has neither; there is no train station, it is two hours by bus or a 40 minute drive to get there from where we live. To add insult to injury after you have travelled all that way in your car you get three hours free, which is inadequate to doing serious shopping interspersed with a little lunch and afternoon tea at the French patisserie. Some of us like to... you know... Shop J

The area around the centre is a shemozzle... Cars are parked everywhere; the parks, side streets and the cricket grounds are awash with vehicles. The centre is claiming it is the commuters and they are telling the council to fix it. Their books tell a different story though... trade is down. And oddly enough casual employees are getting very reluctant to work there... strange that 'cos you would think that people going in for a three hour shift on a junior wage would be happy to pay for the privilege. In fact the only way some retailers can get workers is to pay for their parking.

See Brisbanites are funny people they will go the long way to avoid a toll... hell they sent the Clem Jones Tunnel broke with that principle. So we have done what many Brisbanites have done. We have voted with our feet and boycotted the place. We go elsewhere to shop, preferably to a non Westfield shopping centre. Those places which were struggling to survive against Chermside are reaping the rewards... And it is hurting not only Westfield, but the retailers. Their profits are down a significant amount... one or two have closed already. 

So in the spirit of Christmas Westfield have offered validated parking... if you spend $199 your parking is free. They claim it is only for the holiday season. Now it is a reasonable offer... so we crossed the line. Oddly enough there was plenty of parking... if you can get underground parking there that close to Christmas things must be grim. We crossed because we needed decent shopping (they have shops that can only be found in the city) and we have no issue with validated shopping. 

See if this had really been about stopping the commuters they wouldn't have installed some of the terms and conditions that they did (things like you can't leave and return on the same day and call it two visits) and they would have instigated validated parking. This was a money grubbing little exercise and they thought they could make more money by renting their parking space. What they underestimated was how much the people of this state hate being ripped off...
And they forgot that it takes the same amount of time for people like us to go to the city using the park and ride train system.
Wittner Felle 090

We love going to the city... and if they don't keep the validated parking that is where we will be going. Besides the people who produce these little babies have a shop there too J

1 comment:

Mockingbird said...

Those shoes are definitely worth the paid parking. Damn they are sexy