Norway’s new transport minister, Ketil Solvik-Olsen, seems to be on a roll these days. Just after pushing through the early completion of a major new four-lane highway, Solvik-Olsen is now taking on the much-hated parking fines that many motorists feel are simply unfair.
Solvik-Olsen won kudos earlier this week when he could announce that a four-lane expansion project on the heavily trafficked E18 highway between Tønsberg and Sandefjord would be completed ahead of schedule. The roadbuilding was causing a major roadblock that Solvik-Olsen wanted cleared before the summer holiday season. He succeeded, much to the relief of thousands of motorists who probably won’t have to sit in traffic congestion from July 4.
Fresh from that victory, Solvik-Olsen now wants to streamline parking regulations and lower the fines for those that are violated. The violations are often minor, like forgetting to pull a ticket and display it on the dashboard even in lots where parking is free. That can cost as much as NOK 800 (USD 133) in a fine, with much of the money going into the pockets of the parking lot management companies.
Solvik-Olsen told state broadcaster NRK on Wednesday that he wants common rules for the parking industry, both in the public and private sector, and that fines shouldn’t be so punitive. “We want to differentiate between motorists that knowingly have parked incorrectly and those who have just been a bit unlucky,” he told NRK.
He aims to have the proposals to regulate the parking industry in place by the end of the year, and they’re expected to be well-received.