It has been reported in this Courier Mail article today 23/06/2011, that Westfield Chermside are planning on charging for parking of more than 3 hours. This fine example of corporate greed is a big slap in the face for hundreds of commuters who park at Westfield Chermside on it's quieter midweek days (the car park is usually only full on Saturdays), and then commute by bus (330,333, and 340) to RBWH & RCH Hospitals, QUT Kelvin Grove, and the CBD. This has effectively taken the "Park" bit out of "Park 'n' Ride" at the Chermside Bus Interchange.
So what are the options now for these public transport users? They could still park at Westfield Chermside, but this would cost more than driving and parking at their destination, thus raising the cost of living even further. They could drive to their destination, not only increasing the cost of the commute, but adding to road congestion as well. They could park for free in nearby neighbourhoods, but apparently there isn't much parking in this area at the best of times. This would also not be popular with nearby residents! There is little in the way of attractive feeder buses to Chermside Bus Interchange as an alternative to driving. So it looks like commuters will be quite royally screwed by Westfield's decision.
BrizCommuter hopes that the Queensland Government (who are spending large amounts of money building a busway in the direction of Chermside), and Brisbane City Council put a lot of pressure on Westfield to continue providing free parking. Otherwise, they will have to provide an attractive alternative such as frequent feeder bus services into Chermside Bus Interchange, or build a free Park 'n' Ride nearby.
This problem adds to the system wide issue of insufficient commuter parking at train stations, and lack of attractive feeder bus services (i.e. frequent, with early and late operating hours). This poor planning by both the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council, is turning residential streets around train stations into giant daytime car parks. There are also many potential public transport users who are effectively forced to drive to work due to their local station car parks filling up to capacity, often by around 7am. Another reason why Brisbane's public transport system is not "World Class".
Anyway, BrizCommuter is glad he doesn't shop at Westfield. Why pay exorbitant prices for goods, due to shops being charged exorbitant rent, when you can shop for half the price online. It's just a shame most of us do not have the option of commuting online!