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Hospital parking: What are we paying for?

One of my biggest gripes is paying for parking. Car spaces in town are currently few and far between, and the fact that we have to pay to squeeze into one for an hour or so is baffling to me. 

I get it though, kind of, that the council and associated governments need revenue and it’s my responsibility to pay to park in certain areas of town (either that or engage in a classic game of run ahead of the inspector it’s a hoot). 

As a side note though, I do think that perhaps some of the parking inspectors enjoy their job a little too much and hide in the bushes until the second hand ticks over and they make like that bunny in Zootopia. Streets sure. But… hospitals though? Really?

Gosford car park officially opened late last week and yes, you guessed it, you have to pay to park. Now I don’t know about you, or anyone else you know, but I’ve never visited a hospital to engage in any sort of leisure activity.

Not only that, apart from a teeny tiny handful of reasons (congratulations on birthing a small human type thing) no one is going to a hospital because they want to. They are going because they have to and surely this distinction means that maybe the folks at the helm could pull back a bit on the bureaucracy… no? 

Picture it. You’ve just gotten word that your grandparent or relative or friend or partner or whoever has been rushed to hospital. As soon as you get word you rush to be beside them, give them support and comfort.

These things tend to happen in the evening so, say you arrive at 6pm. You park. You sit in emergency for say, three hours before you get word or are able to accurately assess the situation. You’re sick with worry. Another hour or so goes past. You’re well into the night by now, yes? But when you finally see your loved one you want to stay around, spend some time, until you bid them goodnight only to promise to see them in the morning.

For arguments sake, let’s say you stayed for four-and-a-half hours. A fair stretch of time but nothing astronomical when you consider it’s your loved one lying in a hospital bed you know? So there’s $17.80. You arrive the next day, in the morning of course because you want to catch the doctor and spend some time and provide comfort and snacks other than the hospital food your loved one is forced to endure.

You stay for five hours each day, for the next five days. For those playing at home that’s a total of $117.30 for six visits to the hospital. Six visits you never wanted to make. Six visits you had to miss a week’s worth of work to make. If you’re a casual employee working 25 hours a week, not only have you spent $117.30 in parking fees, but you’ve also lost around $625 in wages.

Surely it just doesn’t add up to pay for parking at a hospital? And sure, I know there are often weekly parking options but these don’t usually kick in until you’ve been in and out of the hospital gate 20 times. So tell me,  why oh why are we charged for parking at the one place we wish we would never have to visit?