CENTREPOINT management has defended a move to slash parking time limits at its Tamworth shopping centre amid claims the decision smacked of revenue raising.
As part of a trial aimed at stamping out non-customers using the car park, management has cut back its maximum allowed free parking from three hours to two hours.
A new boom-gate system, which will accept credit cards, and CCTV cameras will soon be installed to help enforce the time limits.
Centre manager Karen McDonald said up to 90 CBD workers were abusing the system each day, parking at Centrepoint for three hours before moving their vehicles out of the car park and then coming back in for more free parking.
“It was built for customers but there are CBD workers taking up customer parking,” Ms McDonald said.
“We’ve invested a huge amount of money in this car park because parking is so scarce in the CBD.
“This is all about making it harder for people to abuse the system.”
She said cinema customers would still be able to validate their free parking.
But some customers fear the trial will backfire on management and unfairly punish shoppers.
“If they want people to stay, and spend money, why send them away earlier than they are used to?” Moonbi man Phillip Rowe said.
“It’ll mean a bit of shopping, a bit of lunch, all the time checking the time, instead of the relaxing, no pressure time that it once was.
“Some potential customers are going to walk past some shops because they have to get back before they have to pay the extra.”