I hate parking in the Royal Centre parking garage. I try to avoid it whenever I can. But not wanting to be late for Christy Clark's speech to UDI at the Hyatt Hotel, I parked there today. I shouldn't have rushed. Christy arrived late.
Why don't I like parking at Royal Centre? For one thing, it's very expensive...$3 for 20 minutes...yes 20 minutes. But visitors don't know the rate until they are at the entrance gate. Furthermore, you get charged the $11 evening rate regardless of how long you park. Less than an hour? It's still $11. This is wrong.
But that's not my main grievance. I hate the fact that despite the high price to park,and three levels of parking, the operator Standard Parking Canada Ltd. has only installed payment machines at Parking Level 1.
As a result, people parking on other levels invariably tie up elevators as they shuttle between floors; or they cause delays at the exit since they often stop too far from the machines, or don't seem to know how to use them. Just watch what happens after a major function. What is so astounding to me is that this situation has been the same for some time. I have complained to parking and hotel staff, without any success!
To add insult to injury, on one occasion, the pay machines were broken and did not accept credit cards. This happened again this evening. So what did the operator do. Instead of having some one fix the machines, they put up a paper sign saying cash only. Why wasn't someone there fixing the machines?
While I will continue to try and avoid parking under Royal Centre in the future, in fairness to tourists and other visitors, I would urge the operator to install additional machines on each parking level. I would also ask that the machines be reprogrammed so that one doesn't have to pay the $11 evening rate regardless of the amount of time parked. And if the machines break down, fix them right away! If Standard can't manage this, there is a new parking operator in town.
Increasingly, I believe downtown parking rates are deterring Vancouver area residents from coming downtown to shop, dine or attend the theatre. I hear these complaints from callers to radio talk shows, and in personal conversations. While the situation may not yet be serious, if I was a downtown merchant I would be concerned. Especially when shopping centres like Oakridge are planning major expansions. You don't pay to park at Oakridge...or Park Royal...or MetroTown.
So come on Royal Centre. It's time for some Royal treatment in your parking garage!