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More public servants buy motorbikes to avoid Parliamentary Triangle parking fees

On your bike: Public servant, Nathan O'Brien, of Nicholls, has recently bought a motorcycle to avoid Parliamentary ...

On your bike: Public servant, Nathan O'Brien, of Nicholls, has recently bought a motorcycle to avoid Parliamentary Triangle parking fees. Photo: Graham Tidy

Money-conscious public servants are heading to motorcycle stores in larger numbers in an attempt to dodge the ACT’s new pay-parking fees.

Four of Canberra’s largest motorcycle and scooter retailers said they had received dozens of expressions of interest from parliamentary triangle workers over the last couple of months.

Public servant Nathan O’Brien, 31, said he’d been thinking about getting a motorcycle for years, but the introduction of pay parking had tipped him over the edge.

He just bought a Kawasaki Ninja 300, which in total will cost him less than two years of parking fees, after tax.

‘‘Particularly because I live in Nicholls and it’s hell trying to get a bus out of there... I’m not going to pay for the car and it’s about an hour and a half on a bus, so the bike’s the best option,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve got a heap of colleagues planning to do the same. One has just bought his and I work with two other people who are getting bikes this weekend for the same reason.

‘‘They’re looking forward to riding, but the pay parking’s a factor.’’

Joe’s Motorcycles owner Joe Spratford said he had already sold at least half a dozen scooters to concerned public servants.

‘‘It’s becoming a bit of a topic. Probably about a month to six weeks ago it started to pick up a bit,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re just looking for scooters because they think the parking will be too dear and they can buy themselves a motorcycle and get away with the parking fees.

‘‘People are surveying their options.’’

From July 1, pay parking will be introduced throughout the parliamentary triangle, costing almost $3000 a year for public servants with cars.

However, motorcyclists and scooter-owners will be able to continue to park for free.

Canberra Motorcycle Centre operations manager Andrew Barber said you could get a brand new Honda CB125 road bike for $2499, less than the cost of a year’s pay parking.

He said there had been an increase in interest from returning riders and couples who were considering a bike as a third vehicle.

‘‘We’ve seen partners and friends coming in together, both public servants, looking into getting motorbikes,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of couples are going to be keeping their second vehicle in the garage and use their motorcycle as a cheap way to beat the parking fees.’’

At a National Capital Authority public forum on Thursday, April 3, motorcycle-riding public servants took the authority to task for not creating enough parking spaces.

The NCA said they would be adding 10 new motorcycle spaces to what was already available.

But 30-year-old Lena Saboisky, who rides a motorcycle to her job in the parliamentary triangle, said that wouldn’t even meet current demand.

‘‘The parking’s been free, so it hasn’t been a priority, whereas now that the pay parking is coming we’re quite concerned we won’t be able to get bike spaces,’’ she said.

‘‘I daresay staff won’t be happy if they have to pay for motorcycle parking in the triangle because there happens to be a large uptake.’’

A spokesperson for the NCA said they were doing their best to respond to people’s needs and recognised there could be an increased demand for spaces.

‘‘We’ve already booked in an audit of all the spaces from the first of July, that’s across the whole state to see what impact the introduction of pay parking has,’’ she said.

‘‘Part of that audit would look at the amount of motorcycle parking.’’

The spokeswoman also said if there was an increase in demand for motorcycle parks it would take a matter of weeks to fix, not months.

‘‘It is a quick change on our part, just extending a space and putting up a new sign. It’s not a particularly onerous task,’’ she said.

35 comments so far

  • I'm not against people choosing their preferred mode of travel, but...why, exactly, are (and should) motorcycle parking spaces be fee-free? Only because there's no place to display a parking voucher?

    Date and time
    April 14, 2014, 12:10PM
    • I will get all my bike riders friends to take up, car spots. where would you park then.

      Date and time
      April 14, 2014, 1:02PM
    • Less impact on road surface, more environmentally friendly, less impact on traffic, you can park 3-4 bikes in the same space as a car, etc.

      Why shouldn't they be free? Also a great bonus is 300cc or lower is only a $220 a year rego and CTP fee in the ACT.

      Date and time
      April 14, 2014, 1:23PM
    • To answer your question on why bikes don't have to pay, you're probably right; however. why not have a a non-voucher system?

      Date and time
      April 14, 2014, 1:51PM
    • Knowing Canberra quite well as I do, the fall off in popularity and novelty factors should fall off around July. Absolutely too damn cold to even contemplate getting out of bed, let alone riding to workplaces at 0C degrees!

      SYD / CBR / SYD
      Date and time
      April 14, 2014, 3:08PM
    • I was thinking the same thing until I realised you can fit about 3 bikes into the same space as a car while carrying the same amount of people as 3 cars. That means more parking for everyone and less traffic.

      Next time you see someone riding on two wheels you can thank them for speeding up your commute and freeing up a place to park.

      Date and time
      April 14, 2014, 5:17PM
  • shoes like that are not suitable to be riding a bike with. no grip no protection in accident. maybe you should of bough the right gear with that bike.

    I dont believe that there will be a massive amount of public servants buying bikes to avoid parking fees. I mean really, get a grip with the rest of the ACT and the country and pay for your parking, the sense of entitlement to free parking is shameful.

    learn safety first
    Date and time
    April 14, 2014, 12:20PM
    • Its a smart idea, however I'd ask that given we current have a closed car park for the next 6 weeks, that bikes don't park in car spaces.

      Date and time
      April 14, 2014, 12:32PM
      • Don't be fooled, next the NCA and ACT Government will start charging parking fees for motorbikes.

        Date and time
        April 14, 2014, 12:47PM
        • There will be an increased demand for spce to park bikes and as Grumpy says wait for the NCA and ACT Gov't to wake up to an new revendue raiser. This will simply shift the parking problem, not solving it.

          Date and time
          April 14, 2014, 1:16PM

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