Mr Benevides said that traffic wardens write between 50 and 70 tickets a day each. *File photo
Mr Benevides said that traffic wardens write between 50 and 70 tickets a day each. *File photo

Motorcyclists will have to pay $120 a year to park in Hamilton if new regulations get the go-ahead.

The City of Hamilton wants to boost revenue by increasing pay and display street coverage and targeting bike riders.

Ed Benevides, chief operating officer and secretary, said last month: “It is anticipated that in mid to late-October, all streets in the city will become pay and display streets.”

Progress however has been stalled, due to the Municipalities Amendment Act 2013. This stipulates that all city ordinances involving finance must be approved by the House of Assembly and Senate.

Mr Benevides said that until the Hamilton Traffic and Parking Ordinance passes into legislation, the new rules have hit a red light.

“The ordinance is still with the Government and needs to be tabled,” he said.

Minister of Home Affairs, Michael Fahy, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The bike fees are just part of a raft of measures to bring more uniformity to city parking.

Mr Benevides said: “We wanted to do a balanced approach towards raising revenue. We wanted to reduce where we could but also spread the burden.”

Parking revenue will be allocated towards the City’s infrastructure costs, which run into “millions of dollars”, he said.

This includes drains, sewage, road resurfacing, sidewalks, lights, traffic lights and parks.

The annual revenue for bike parking is expected to reach $600,000-700,000.

“There’s more than 2,000 bike parking spaces in the city and that all takes up space,” said Mr Benevides. 

“We’re talking about a very minor amount of money — $120 a year, which works out to about three cents an hour.

“I don’t think anyone can really complain about paying a quarter (a day), especially when this money will go towards having better roads and sidewalks.

“Some people might think that because they’ve never paid for something, why should they pay now? 

“But every city in the world charges for parking, whether you are riding a bike or are in a car.”

The City is trying to recoup lost revenue as a result of the economic downturn. 

“There has been a significant decrease in the numbers of people parking in the city,” said Mr Benevides.

“Motorists used to have difficulty in finding a parking spot but now they are ample.”

The City is also overhauling its parking following a review by Roger Sherratt and recommendations by Government.

“They advised us it might be beneficial to merge all the ordinances into one, to make it easier for the public to understand all the various rules,” said Mr Benevides.

The City is proposing a three-zone system.

Zone One parking will cover Front Street to Church Street, and cost $2 an hour. This will be extended to include King Street to the east.

Zone Two will cover north of Church Street up to Dundonald Street, and cost $1.50 an hour.

Zone Three will cover north of Dundonald Street to North Street, at $1 an hour.

All-day parking at Bull’s Head and Elliott Street car parks will be reduced to $5, or $1 an hour, up to five hours maximum.

There will be a 30 per cent reduction for an annual parking permit, or 18 per cent for a monthly one.

Mr Benevides said motorists regularly “abused” the City Hall, Dundonald Street and Union Street car parks, by parking there all day. 

This caused “inconvenience” to shoppers. 

“Enforcement is a challenge,” he said. 

“The traffic wardens (Bermuda Police Service) write between 50 and 70 tickets a day each. 

“There’s five of them on average, so you are talking a serious amount of tickets.

“They do an exceptional job but they can’t be everywhere. If parking was pay and display throughout the city, it would make things easier.”