Director’s cut – The Tyranny of Cinema Parking at Westfield

Westfield Shopping Centre used to give an hour’s free parking to parkers who were going to the cinema. This was a nice rort-proof (which I’ll come to later) facility for the average movie-goer slash shopper slash driver. There are already three hours free parking, Westfield would give another hour on top of that, making a total of four hours free parking.

The cinema would validate your parking ticket when you produced your movie ticket – thus making it rort-proof – which some would say is un-Australian, but again, that’s a whole other blog.

It was a good system. It meant you could park the car, buy the ticket, watch the movie and have an ice cream afterwards.

But those salad days are gone (or in my case ice cream days). As of June last year Westfield no longer validates the extra hour. So, if you are parking a car AND seeing a movie, then you’ve got three hours to do it. Take it or leave it.

In our case leave it. Three hours is not enough time to park the car, walk to the cinema, buy the ticket, go to the toilet (hey! the film is three hours long) and see a film. Especially once the cinema throws in 20 minutes worth of ads/trailers. Some current films like The Hobbit (which I definitely do not recommend) or Django are close to three hours long.

When we realised we did not have enough time for free parking and seeing Django, the young girl at Events Cinema, Hornsby helpfully told us the exact start time of the feature, and suggested we race out and repark the car just before the feature begins then leave the carpark as soon as the film finishes.

That was a nice suggestion, but I’m leaving now. It’s not that $7 for parking is unaffordable, but it is the principle of the thing. Plus it suddenly makes Cheap Tuesday not so cheap. Instead I’ll wait three months then rent the film via my local DVD kiosk for $3.

I would like to think Westfield have done themselves in with their greediness and that other movie-goers/parkers will also stop going to the cinema. But unfortunately, as is always the case, the public (apart from me) will suck it up and pay, pay, pay.