Oslo’s left-green city government further infuriated resident car-owners this week when it released its proposed city budget for next year. Not only is more street parking disappearing, the city is raising resident parking fees by 50 percent.
The city has for years been phasing in what’s called beboerparkering, a system in which residents get preferential use of street parking in their neighbourhoods. It started out costing NOK 300 a year, when it was introduced as a pilot project by the former conservative city government, and residents registering no longer had to pay into much more expensive parking meters that had sprung up around town.
It was immediately successful, giving residents priority over commuters, but it now costs NOK 3,600 a year after fees were hiked dramatically by the Labour Party-led government that won power in 2015. Now the government wants to boost the annual fee to NOK 5,400 (USD 600), even though those signing up have no guarantee of actually finding a space to park, especially after the same government has controversially been removing street parking all over town.
“We must make it more expensive to pollute and cheaper to get around in a more environmentally friendly manner,” Lan Marie Berg of the Greens Party, which shares power with Labour, told newspaper Aftenposten. She has no sympathy for those who can’t afford to buy an electric car, which pay much lower fees, and she doesn’t want any private cars in Oslo at all.
Her government’s campaign promise to lower fares on public transport, however, isn’t being fulfilled because of budget shortfalls caused by the Corona crisis. Health authorities are also now warning against riding on public transport, to hinder the spread of Covid-19, while a strike has halted bus service in the Oslo area for the past week.