The price of living seems to be on the rise in South Africa, so locals will welcome the news that some malls in the Western Cape plan to introduce free parking and lowered parking prices in 2019.
Around this time next year, every shopping centre owned by the Redefine Properties company will probably have capped parking fees in order to provide a stronger pull for customers. In some malls shoppers could pay as little as R5 for up to four hours of parking, while other centres may have free parking altogether.
The company owns a number of properties in the Cape, including the Blue Route Mall, Benmore Centre, Kenilworth Centre and Wonderboom Junction. It expressed its plan to prioritise parking in 2019 to investors this past Monday. The new plan means, of course, losing the current income made by charging the current fees.
This comes as pressure has been placed on retail due to increased cost of living in South Africa and the challenges it poses to locals.
In July 2018, Redefine experimented with lifting the booms at a regional shopping centre and experienced an immediate increase in turnover. The company furthermore states that is is rather strange to ‘penalise’ shoppers for staying longer.
During the current financial year, Redefine will likely begin the implementation of the new parking charges at all its centers across the country. The company is yet to decide which malls will adopt free parking, but decisions will be made soon following an analysis.
Free parking could bring its own challenges, including security issues and loitering e-hailing cars, but the company is prepared to make the change in order to adapt to the current economic strain.
Locals can only hope that other malls and shopping centers will follow suit.