Parking fee freeze over

AFTER a three-year freeze, fees in Perth council’s car bays will rise to claw back lost profit. 

Meanwhile a council marketing campaign aimed at convincing the public its carparks are affordably priced has seemingly backfired.

Across 2021/22 Perth council ran a carpark marketing campaign in the hope of getting more people to come to the city. 

The council hoped to reduce the number of people thinking city parking was too expensive by 5 per cent in the first six months, and another 5 per cent after. 

A survey run before and after showed it didn’t work. 

Cr Brent Fleeton queried the campaign at the November council meeting, pointing out: “At the start we took a snapshot, and it was 43.7 per cent of respondents who said that parking was expensive.

“At the end of the campaign, 46.3 per cent agreed that parking was expensive, so we went backwards.” 

Councillors asked how much had been spent on the marketing campaign but didn’t get told a dollar figure: The parking spruik was rolled into events ads on TV, radio, press and social media ads, and comes out of an overall $1.7 million annual marketing department budget.

The fizzled campaign was brought up as councillors mulled over whether to increase parking prices at the November meeting.

The current council line-up, first elected in 2019, have put off raising the price the past two years, and have even made night parking free in council-owned carparks. That free parking cost $2.1m in lost revenue. 

Council staff have now advised them to end the freeze, given the carparks are often full and they’re a good deal cheaper than the privately-owned competition. The higher fees would bring in about $2.5m extra, offsetting the increasing cost of running the parking business and helping cover the lost night parking fees.

Cr Fleeton argued against any rises, saying it was “not worth the continued damage to our reputation as a destination”.

Cr Di Bain agreed: “Being more expensive only impacts negatively on our reputation”.

But they were outvoted by the majority who thought the price increase was timely given how full the carparks are after two years of no rises. 

The new charges kick in January 16 and will see hourly fees go up by 50 cents to $1 an hour (depending on how popular the spot is) and the daily rate increases by $1 to $2 an hour. 

The council currently brings in $73m a year in parking revenue but as operating costs and wages keep going up the cost to run the whole thing has crept to around $62m. 

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