As in most cities, inhabitants of Addis Ababa are used to seeing cars parked on the sides of the roadways in practically every neighborhood. The many shoppers, diners, and other city dwellers first need to locate a parking spot for their vehicles. Finding and parking in a safe and secure area that can provide you peace of mind as you go about your business is an inconvenience that many people would rather not have to deal with.
“I always have to mentally prepare myself anytime I intend to go out with my family,” Solomon Haile, a 47-year-old local who has trouble finding parking, said. He complains that he has a hard time finding a comfortable and secure place to park his vehicle, and that he also finds it annoying to have to pay so much money for something that cannot be guaranteed to keep his vehicle safe.
Tamirat Beyene, a 26-year-old victim of theft, related his experience of parking on the side of the road with a parking attendant nearby, only to return to find that his rear-view mirror had been stolen. He says that while he was waiting for the parking valet to take payment, he noticed that his rearview mirror was gone.
“I asked him about it because he was the one keeping watch. The bad news is that he said he did not see anything. In the end, I simply paid the legal parking fine and left,” Tamirat clarified.
Many locals have had their rear-view mirrors stolen or their vehicles vandalized, and they have nowhere to turn for help. Parking lots at many shopping and entertainment centers have separate facilities with their own rates. They offer peace of mind to clients by keeping their vehicles secure while they are out and about, as they are either enclosed or have their own security.
There are parking places all around the city that are managed by employees who have been trained and work for the Traffic Management Agency, in addition to the parking lots at malls and retail centers.
The per-hour rates for these parking spots are already set in stone.
The tariffs on high-traffic roadside parking spots are set at 20 birr per hour since they don’t want a large number of cars parked there, according to Berhanu Kuma, an employee of the Agency. Roadside parking spaces outside of city centers and on less congested roadways are less expensive.
Berhanu said that signs showing how much each parking spot costs are accompanied by employees who have been hired and trained to help customers who park there.
“We do our best to manage these facilities and the individuals who work there,” Berhanu said, “but managing hundreds of parking spaces at the same time is impossible to do.” He claimed that if people report any inappropriate behavior on the part of the employees, swift and decisive measures will be taken.
Workers at parking lots are contracted out to a variety of associations, each of which provides them with a set of guidelines to follow before they begin their job. In addition to having to use receipts, they are required to wear official vests bearing the Agency’s name while collecting parking payments from clients.
Berhanu says that the employees will be dismissed from their positions at the association if they are found overcharging or failing to provide receipts for the parking fees they collect.
“The main people who play a role in ensuring that we are able to accomplish what is required are the citizens themselves by paying only the required tariff and reporting anyone who asks for more money than is required.”
When asked if the Agency’s attendants were responsible for ensuring the security of vehicles parked in their lots, Berhanu responded that they were. “If a customer reports their vehicle being broken into or missing parts while utilizing the parking service, the attendants will be held responsible.”