STREET BEAT: Parking with ease
PARKING IS ONE of the major problems facing motorists doing business in the City.
This is why those seeking to avoid the eagle eye and tickets of the traffic wardens turn to the legal methods of parking, albeit for a small price.
Some may think the job of a parking attendant is an easy one but there is more to it than one may be led to believe.
Ron Brathwaite of Big Time Car Park in Magazine Lane, the City, said the job could be quite stressful when people seek to get out of paying the $2 per hour. He said the “part thereof” often did not sit well with customers.
“People have to understand it’s $2 an hour or part thereof, which means an hour or less,” he said.
Another trick Brathwaite said people pulled was to deliberately leave after their 5 p.m closing time when the workers go home.
“We don’t chain up the lot so some people stay after we leave to get around payment,” he said.
In addition, Brathwaite revealed the men worked to quota and had to earn at least $500 per day or suffer reduced pay. However, he said this was usually not hard to achieve.
Despite the challenges, Brathwaite said it was still a “cool” job, albeit a part time one.
“We have our regulars and we get monthly people. We get to sit down, relax and interact with people and some remember you and bring things for you. However, I’m really a chef, I have only been doing this part time for the past year,” he said.
A classic example of the bond a car park attendant can form with a client was made clear when Joyce Ramsay pulled up and asked the men to park her car for her. She works at St George Secondary School and remembers the attendants as former pupils, saying they were proof something good can come from the school.
After more than 15 years in the business, Edwin Walcott of Royal Car Park, has also formed lasting bonds with people and is in sole control of his little piece of the City, next to Savings Plus supermarket along St Michael’s Row.
“I run this car park for myself as part of an agreement. It’s not too big as it only holds around 15 cars but over the years, I have built a solid relationship with my clients; they look out for me and I look out for them,” he said, adding he also parked some of his more dedicated clients’ vehicles.
As for the off newcomer who does not want to pay, Walcott said he let them go and let karma deal with the case.
“My clientele is very understanding; you can find the odd one may pass through and grumble about paying but I let them go ‘long,” he said.
Walcott said the best part of his job was the satisfaction of helping others.
Not far away, Phyllis Rouse is the woman in charge of the St Michael Cathedral car park. Well, at certain times of the day, anyway.
“I have only been here three years and I work with another lady who has been here much longer,” she said.
Rouse said she was unemployed when a friend suggested the job to her and so she jumped at the chance for work. Three years later, she said she has not regretted it.
“It is not stressful to me and you get to know people and even make friends; some people are very friendly,” she said.
It is not all a bed of roses; however, as Rouse said it could sometimes be difficult to explain to people where to park as some did not understand they had special parking for their monthly clients.
For the past 16 years Beverley Craigg has been one of the pleasant faces motorists parking across the YMCA see.
“I like to meet people; you have to be on the ball so you can hold a conversation with people,” she said.
Craigg was working in the car park before COB loaned it to the YMCA and is still there today, still enjoying every day. She said the hardest part was finding people still parked even when she left for the day, but added many of them returned the next day to pay.
Her supervisor, YMCA general secretary David Norgrove said Craigg was “very reliable, dependable, a good worker and had a good relationship with her clients”. In addition to that, he said she helped keep the car washers in order, adding she was there far longer than he was.