Press Release For January 17, 2019
The newly implemented contract ensures hospital patients will remain targets for financial exploitation by a system designed to maximize profit through violations.
[DELTA] The profit-oriented hospital pay parking business operating at most BC hospitals shows no sign of a slow-down in both overall revenue and fee increases. Documents obtained by HospitalPayParking.ca through FOI show the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) has just signed a new five year agreement with parking lot operator Impark that commenced on January 1, 2019. The seventy nine page contract details the stable of hospitals run by Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health Authorities that Impark will manage while collecting $14.5M in fees plus 100 per cent of all violation revenue. Hospitals in Delta and Mission are excluded from the list as these municipalities have bylaws that forbid hospital pay parking.
HospitalPayParking.ca, a non-profit and volunteer run organization focused on ending the exploitative practice of hospital pay parking in BC, has examined the new business relationship and is warning the added stress and anxiety for hospital patients will only get worse unless major reform is implemented. The group recently met with the leadership of Fraser Health to discuss a variety of alternative solutions that would eliminate the mandatory and universally hated hospital pay parking trap. HospitalPayParking.ca is also working with both provincial and municipal governments to bring about change.
Among the most troubling aspects of the new agreement is the ramping up of aggressiveness in the design of the pay parking system itself. Hospital parking lots with controlled entrances used to offer patients and their supporters an opportunity to pay for parking upon exiting the lot. This design didn’t involve meters that needed to be constantly fed to avoid a violation notice. The new contract however, explicitly directs Impark to phase out this design, currently used at only five LM hospitals, and install automated kiosks in combination with mobile LPR (Licence Plate Recognition) armed patrol staff to monitor and issue tickets on expired meters. Many Vancouver area residents will be familiar with the guess-your-time and prepay method as it has been the dominant pay parking system for the past few years. Some of the text alludes to the potential roll-out of pay parking to even more Health Authority managed properties.
The impetus to automate hospital parking lots is, as evidenced by the contract text, to encourage the issuing of parking violations. The parking lot operator is heavily incented to employ patrol staff that can issue as many violation notices as possible. Incredibly, the PHSA document demands Impark collect on all violation notices it issues and then defines that revenue as theirs to keep. Not one dime of the standard $80 parking ticket given out at local hospitals is retained by the Health Authorities. The hospital parking lot gig is likely a lucrative one for Impark. Meanwhile the Health Authorities seem content with the approximate $3.50 per hour per parked vehicle from standard parking rates.
Among the particulars not carried forward from the previous parking facility management contract (2007-2018) was the value-add stipulation that new “customer groups” should be actively sought to fill unused parking stalls within the Health Authorities’ managed lots. The clause specifically called out film productions as potential clients who might rent some of the surplus real estate. Such a condition serves to demonstrate the Health Authority putting its own financial gain ahead of prioritizing sufficient parking capacity for hospital patients and their supporters. Readers of the newly crafted legal agreement are treated to a bit of comic relief, with the Health Authority declaring the operator must “restrict the carrying out of any business on the Purchaser’s (Health Authority’s) property that would constitute a nuisance…”. Oh, the irony.
BC Health Authorities have become addicted to the revenue hospital pay parking generates. This is a problem many British Columbians are learning about the hard way at a time when they are at their lowest, weakest and often sickest. The two Health Authorities party to this agreement collected nearly $20M in net parking revenue last year and it’s an income source they regard as safe and secure. Meanwhile parking costs for patients have risen province-wide by an average of 9% annually since 2015. The potential revenue from violation notices is currently unknown, but likely amounts to a significant pile of cash.
A copy of the Impark/Health Authority contract is available upon request