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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Oslo’s parking program backfires badly

Oslo’s new Labour-led city government has already irritated residents owning cars who suddenly found themselves facing much higher street parking fees or no place to park at all. Now the city’s unpopular parking program has cost city taxpayers millions as well.

It all began last winter, when new city politicians keen to reduce vehicle use extended the time during which motorists must pay for street parking. They also boosted fees by as much as 50 percent. That set off a storm of protests, but little relief has been offered.

Now more may be. City officials thought they’d generate around NOK 80 million in additional revenue but instead have discovered that their zealous new parking restrictions have generated around NOK 85 million less than budgeted. Motorists seem to have found other places to park their cars, because far fewer are using street parking and paying the high fees. Electric cars, meanwhile, continue to be exempt from parking fees and there are more of them in town than ever before.

“I’m not surprised,” Øystein Sundelin, a city council member for the Conservatives who objected to the parking changes, told state broadcaster NRK. “The city government punishes those who live in the city center. The result is that people are parking other places or moving their cars more often.” He’s calling for a new evaluation of the parking program. staff




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