Councillor points the finger at meter taxis

Ward 59 councillor Ian Iversen and Rondebosch RatepayersAssociation representative Monica Sutherland under the current sign indicating a 60-minute parking limit.

Ward 59 councillor Ian Iversen is set to approach the City with several suggestions on how heavy traffic congestion outside the Fountain Centre on Main Road, Rondebosch, might be eased.

Mr Iversen attributes much of the daily bottleneck to meter taxis parking illegally outside the shopping centre, believing they openly flout the 60-minute parking restriction in the hope of attracting customers leaving the mall. This causes other meter taxi drivers to double-park, blocking the road to passing vehicles.

“You see these taxis parked here all day. Some of them are here for hours,” he said.

In addition, because the taxis were mostly stationed outside a number of takeaway restaurants, these customers were not able to park while they ordered food, he said.

Mr Iversen’s views are supported by Monica Sutherland, of the Rondebosch Ratepayers’Association. “I drive up and down this road all the time. The situation has become totally unbearable. Sometimes the drivers even disappear and leave their taxis unattended,” she said.

However, during a site visit last week, Mr Iversen revealed he had come up with several ideas which could address the parking problem.

“I think one of the big problems is the 60-minute time restriction. This encourages the taxi drivers to park for extended periods. What I would like to see is the restriction brought down to 20 minutes. This would mean there would be a constant flow in and out of the parking spaces.”

The second part of this process, Mr Iversen said, would involve the introduction of guards to ensure the 20-minute restriction was adhered to. “If the measures are approved, we would have a week-long campaign to make people aware of them. From then, those found to be violating the time restriction would be ticketed.”

Ms Sutherland posited that spot fines should be issued currently, but Mr Iversen feared the presence of traffic officers could make individual traffic officers targets for retribution.

The owner of one of the restaurants, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed the parking situation had become out of hand.

“The taxis park there like they are normal customers. Actually, some of the taxi drivers have got parking there down to sophisticated art,” he said.

“They enter the parking space as though they are normal customers, but once they are parked, they place the yellow taxi sign on their car’s roof. I am paying a lot to lease my shop, but I can’t have parking for my own customers. It’s not just me either; it’s all the shops in the centre that are being affected.”