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Monday 19 August 2019

'Gouging' - drivers in capital face 68pc hike in parking cost


‘Inequity’: Stephen McMahon says public patients now face higher costs. Picture: Collins
‘Inequity’: Stephen McMahon says public patients now face higher costs. Picture: Collins

Allison Bray

Motorists will be digging deeper into their pockets to park in Dublin city centre when hikes of up to 68.75pc in street parking rates come into effect next week.

As of Monday, on-street parking charges will increase by more than 10pc, from €2.90 to €3.20, in an expanded Yellow 'very high demand' parking zone that will now encompass much of the city centre.

Those parking in an expanded Red 'high demand' zone will be paying even more as the hourly rate increases from €2.40 to €2.70, an increase of 12.5pc.

Meanwhile, due to the expansion of the Red zone into the 'medium demand' Green zone, motorists who were paying €1.60 an hour to park on some suburban streets will now be paying €2.70 an hour, an increase of 68.75pc.

An hourly fee of €1.40 will also apply to those parking from 2pm to 6pm in the White 'high demand Sundays' zone - encompassing the O'Connell Street, Henry Street, Grafton Street and St Stephen's Green shopping areas.

The only concession will be for those with smartphones accessing the council's Parking Tag app, who will get a 10pc discount in the Red and Yellow zones.

The price increase was approved by Dublin city councillors last February following a review by the council's Transportation Strategic Policy Committee. It was the first price increase since 2008.

However, Irish Patients Association spokesperson Stephen McMahon said the expanded Yellow zone will now take in the streets around the Mater Hospital.

Both patients and visitors typically park here due to the high cost of private parking at the hospital and elsewhere.

However, because patients attending clinics may not know how long their appointments will take, many overpay or risk losing their place in the queue in order to top up the meter, he said.

"It's price gouging. It's nothing more than a tax for the service. My concern is it's a cost to patients, especially public patients," said Mr McMahon.

Appointments for private patients typically run more or less on time compared to those for public patients who could be waiting hours to be seen.

"It's just another inequity," Mr McMahon added of the two-tiered medical system.

He also fears private car park owners will now raise their prices. Officials from Dublin City Council did not respond to a request for comment last night.

Irish Independent

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