|All about new Parking fees machines|
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ArticleId: 1062 Written: 2003.10.27 by: Robin Tivy
I previously made the mistake of putting a note into the Diamond Head Road about these machines, and it quickly turned into a discussion. In order to keep the road bulletins short, I therefore thought I should gather the info together as a discussion.
1. Where Machines Are Installed: (at least)
2. Ticket Cost: The tickets are $5.00 per day or 50.00 for the year. "Year" means only till March 31. You don't get any discount for partial year.
3. Season Ticket: The machine at Seymour assurred me that if I paid the $50.00 I could easily get my annual pass in the office. This proved impossible. First of all the people are not normally at the office on weekends. And if they are, they don't have the tickets.
4. Lonsdale is not open on weekends: The people are not at the office on any weekend. The parking enforcement guy in a pickup said I should go to Lonsdale to redeem my ticket, which he assurred me was open "7 by 24". With some difficulty I drove down to Lonsdale, and eventually found the office. It was closed. No hours of operation were posted, just a huge sign saying "We're backing the bid". I got depressed and went home.
On one of my visits to Seymour, I noticed that as of November 1, you will not have to pay there during the winter season. Another thing I noticed was that people who hadn't paid had gotten warning. Since the ticket is only good till March 31, perhaps this is a good reason to wait till next year before buying season's pass.
Those machines must cost between $20,000 - 30,000 each. The method of collection is incredibly inefficient, compared with just raising the gas tax, and using existing mechanisms at the gas pump to collect the money. This type of tax would also spread out the cost of maintaining roads over all users. Of course the Diamond Head road requires maintenance, but so does the Whistler Highway. The distinction that somehow one is a luxury whereas the other is essential is rubbish: the money spent on the Whistler highway or any other highways is to support people travelling, much of which is optional travel.
Even regular commuters from Squamish and Lion's Bay should pay their share of their usage of Highway 99. Targeting backcountry users while at the same time pouring huge subsidies into the Olympic television spectacle on the basis of "indirect benefits" is not honest. The stupidest thing is that the machines have been installed at many of the rest stops on the highway. So if you just drive up and down the highway you pay nothing, but if you pull over for a half hour picnic at Brandwine park, Murin Park or any other, you are supposed to pay $3.00. So again, no tax on those who just drive,drive,drive but all the tax on people who try to get out and become more healthy. Of course, I've heard that the minister of education is really making a push into solving the fat problem at high schools...