Free parking is expensive!

Free parking

Really, you want free parking? Think again!

You can please some of the people some of the time but never all of the people all of the time. This old adage applies to parking tariffs too.

There are no two ways about it: whether you’re a public or private parking provider or the parking customer, parking costs money! How can we resolve this idea (or desire) that expensive infrastructure, such as that for parking, should be free?

Here are some thoughts:

  • The attractiveness of an area determines footfall. Be it for shopping or leisure purposes, safeguarding attractiveness for customers is the ultimate goal.
    • Novel idea: Consider a parking tariff as an indicator of attractiveness
    • Novel formula: Parking Tariff = Attractiveness Indicator (PT = AI)
  • The accessibility of an area is important and having a good infrastructure (including ample parking spaces) in place makes customers feel welcome.
  • Attractiveness & Accessibility should be part of the overarching plan to maintain or improve the competitive position of an area.

Here are some facts:

  • Municipalities who invest in 'experience' observe an upward trend in footfall.
  • Abolishing paid parking results in increased mobility (congestion and emissions), more vehicles searching for a place to park and reduces road safety.
  • The quick 'free of charge' parking solutions we've seen, to support retail, have led to nothing but dissatisfied citizens and considerable financial problems for municipalities.
  • Parking tariffs do not deter people from parking, customers factor it in to the cost of their day out. The price of parking plays a subordinate role in their destination choice.

Parking costs money - but who should pick up the bill?

Investments to create parking facilities are necessary even when parking is ‘free’. And if motorists don’t pay for parking, who does? Providing parking free of charge means that the municipality foots the bill from general reserves, in other words, tax paying citizens pick up the bill – sooner or later.

Who do you think should pay for parking?