Drivers react to Samoa’s new parking meters

It will take some time for drivers to adjust to using parking meters in downtown Apia, Samoa.

Fialua Samuelu questioned the need to bring in parking meters where drivers will have to pay to park in the metered zones.

“I feel like everything else will no longer be free in this country,” he said.

A taxi driver of DB Taxis, Jerry Atatia wanted to know why they will have to pay more to the Land Transport Authority which is installing the parking meters.

“I don’t see any difference in the money we already paid the LTA for passing our car licenses and these coins we’ll be putting inside those small machines,” Atatia said.

Several drivers who spoke to Loop Samoa said it meant they would have to fork out extra money from their pockets.

National University of Samoa lecturer, T.J Aiolupotea shared the sentiments of some of the drivers.

“Personally, I think it’s kind of unfair especially for the students who drive cars but don’t have proper income to pay for these parking meters.”

“And then for the stuff, I think it’s unfair because we come here to get paid but not to spend our money, and also to work to be able to make a living,” Aiolupotea said.

“They could’ve created more parking spaces like infrastructures for parking instead of just putting them everywhere around town,” he added.

The LTA has installed 8 parking meters from the ANZ Bank down to the SNPF Plaza on the street side of the main road to jump start a pilot project.

The meters will cover 84 parking spaces and in September commuters will have to pay to park in the designated area.

The parking fee starts from $1 tala for the first 15 minutes and will continue to increase depending of the parking time. For instance, for $4 tala will cover one hour of parking.

And for 8 hours of parking from 8:00am to 4:00pm, the fee is $32 tala.

The meters will be operable only from Mondays to Fridays during the pilot period with plans to include Saturdays.

At a press conference, LTA’s Chief Executive Galumalemana Titi Tutuvanu –Schwalger said the parking meters were there to generate more revenue as well as ensure that traffic congestion is under control.

“The revenues generated from parking meters will fund part of road maintenances costs,” she added. “It is no great secret that LTA does not have the financial resources to meet the demands of our country and maintaining roads for the safety of our travelling public is paramount to the authority.”

Between now and September when the fees are enforced, Galumalemana says that the grace period will allow the LTA time to run promotional and publicity awareness programs.



Photo supplied    

Talaia Mika