2 August 2006

Pay Parking at Canberra Hospital

| Chris S
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For those of you who are as incensed as I am about the pay [parking arrngements at the Canberra Hospital, this has just come from Steve Pratt’s office:

Steve Pratt and Brendan Smyth have asked that I advise you of their intended visit to The Canberra Hospital tomorrow morning at about 8:30am.

Their hope is to attract the media and draw attention to the impact of pay parking on both residents of the area and hospital stakeholders.

You are more than welcome to join them in this venture, the more the merrier! They will be located at the car park adjacent to Yamba Drive near Emergency.

Please contact me should you need any further information.

Kind Regards

Kate Davis
Office Manager
Office of Steve Pratt MLA
Member for Brindabella

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I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Why don’t people just park on the footpath with the bonnet up pretending to be broken down like I do?

Hmm – there could be a new form of volunteering at hospitals – little old ladies that collect whole day vouchers from anyone who is leaving and pass them on to new arrivals!

Indi, it really doesn’t make much difference. Corbell has said that the parking fees will go into the Hospital budget. What that means is that the total hospital budget will be reduced by the amount of revenue. Therefore, whether it goes to consolidated revenue directly or indirectly really makes no difference.

For those in the APS who do budgets, they will know that Section 35 receipts are taken into account when appropriated funds are distributed – the arrangements in the ACTPS will be exactly the same.

I don’t always agree with bonfire, but this time he’s dead right – the fines will be very high (as people will get caught up in situations where they have no opportunity to go out and feed the voucher machine), and this will almost certainly outweigh parking fees.

What that will lead to is that anyone turning up there will have to buy an all-day voucher, just in case, and that’s an unfair impost, largely resulting from the irregular and inefficient way that hospitals everywhere work.

Heres a dirty little secret teased out of the head of urban services at a belco communist council meeting.

if indi owns a property with a large carpark, he must introduce paid parking. indi can keep the parking revenue and the govt will keep the compliance revenue (fines).

to put this in context – in the first year after paid parking was introduced to belco, more fine revenue was collected than paid parking.

pardon ignorance – but would the $$ collected at the hospital go into consolidated revenue or to aid in funding the hospital?

If it’s consolidated revenue then it just doesn’t fly…

I went to the Hospital markets the other week. It seems that after pay parking is introduced all those free loaders who park and ride or walk to Woden will be replaced in spades by more people parking. That is becasue there seems to be a whole lot of temporary car parking places going up.

Sounds like all those stories about people abusing the carparking is Government bullshit. Someone in Woden should do an audit of carparking around Woden before and after the pay parking is introduced.

Why have pay parking anyway? When you factor the costs of collection and compliance, they wouldn’t be making much anyway. Easier to just add a few bucks to everyone’s rego and let us park for nothing, I say!

Thanks publius, that makes so much sense. It’s a bit like the Middle East, where “collective punishment” for the sins of a few is carried out by overwhelming force that has enormous collateral damage.

Garran residnets believe that the amount of parking by Woden workers is quite small – there is certainly some foot traffic, but it’s not to the point where draconian measures are justified.

And if these people did park in Woden, paid or otherwise, then there would be increased parking problems there.

It seems to many of us that this is a foolish policy, based on furphies, where other measures may have had a desired effect. To exacerbate the newly created problems, that didn’t exist before, they have chosen the worst possible implementation solution.

It stinks.

It is all getting very complicated, with some exemptions for some groups. Better to go back to first principles, viz there should be no paid parking at Canberra Hospital. The Stanhope Government needs to find ways to exclude/discourage commuters who work at Woden from parking there but not punish people visiting someone at the hospital.

A serious problem with paid parking at hospitals is that the public transport alternative is so abysmal.

If you recall the ‘sustainable transport plan’ which promised so much and delivered so little, recommends paid parking as a way to encourage peopel to use buses.

This simply doesnt add up.

All paid parking has doen is collect revenue for the gummint. There has been no significant increase in patronage of buses due to paid parking anywhere.

If Canberra had a genuine mass transit public transport alternative, such as light rail, then perhaps many people who might have driven would use public transport. As it is, with buses competing in the grind of traffic, stopping jerkily throwing old people around (ive seen it) they have no alternative except to drive.

Poor policy, poorly implemented delivering a poor result.

Remembering, Big Al, that there is a significant cost in collecting that money. The machines, loss of car parks to locate the equipment, enforcement and the like, suck the profits out.

Then, of course, the government has now exempted so many groups, with the original profit projections now so shot that the original proposal simply doesn’t stack up.

What we’ve ended up with is not much more than an expensive “make-work” program, funded by those people who are generally most ill-equipped to pay, the patients.

There have been some real tales of woe, about elderly people who regularly visit their sick spouses, who are now faced with such a cost impact on their pensions that they will have to curtail the time they spend with their loved ones.

Because the staff, volunteers and some other groups are exempted (and therefore still get “free” parking) the externalities argument is lost, I would have thought.

Pfft, aging population, why not screw them over before they get into the ACT health system? At least with paid parking you know that you wont have to stand to wait for your elective surgery. You have the added bonus of a security guard checking your vitals as you sit comatosed in your vehicle.

I fully agree that the voucher parking system chosen is bullshit, however the Government should be praised for its efforts to reign in the absurd cost externality of ‘free’ parking. The parking is not “free” the cost is simply passed onto the community rather than collected from the user.

top idea. lets clag up the entrance to the emergency dept with a protest.

high fives for thinking.

Mate, you take it wherever you can get it – didn’t you learn that when you were a young bloke?

Actually, although we’ve seen very little of Steve Pratt and Brendan Smyth on this matter, Richard Mulcahy has been very supportive of what the community has been expressing about pay parking issues. I think that, because of Mulcahy’s efforts, the Libs have bought themselves a seat at this particular table.

There are two separate issues. The first is the principle of pay parking. There will be different views on this.

The second issue is the manner in which it has been implemented. Because the Hospital has chosen the voucher system, there are all sorts of issues for members of the public; if they have an appointment in say, Outpatients, they could be there for maybe half an hour, or could be there for most of the day. This places a very difficult onus on those doing the parking. The problems are well documented, but I’m happy to go into it if you like.

In my view, and that of many others, pay parking at the Hospitals is bad public policy. Worse, the implementation is bad public administration.

What’s this – The Pratt trying to demonstrate that he’s loonier than the loony left! I really have to doubt the effectiveness of such a piss-weak effort by the Canberra Liberals. I’ll get coverage in the CT of course, but that says more about the quality of the publication than the merit of the story.

It also seems a bit rich for the Liberals to be opposing a Government policy that seeks to weed out freeloading shit-bags. I would have thought that a workable user-pays system (read: everyone pays with no exceptions regardless of how much people whine and bitch on about how bloody special they think they are) would be high on the Liberals agenda.

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