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Rail commuters face new hike in car parking fees

DART customers are being hit with higher car parking charges as the Government passes on VAT rates to Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council.

Commuters in south county Dublin will now pay more for park-and-ride facilities in a number of car parks across the area.

The Finance Act 2010 brought in a ruling, from July 1, that Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council must pay VAT at 21pc on all income generated in off-street car parks.

And in order to meet the cost, charges at these car parks will be increased. The current €3-per-day charge is now increased to €3.60. Where €5 per day is charged, this jumps to €6 and the hourly parking fee is increased from €1 to €1.20.

Devastated

Councillors said that there was no other option but to implement the change.

"We had no choice -- this was inflicted on us by the Government," said Fine Gael councillor Maria Bailey.

"If we had taken it out of our budget, our footpaths and road restoration programmes would have been absolutely devastated," she added.

Cllr Bailey said that she did not see it as a significant increase because there was still the €3 all-day parking down in the west pier in Dun Laoghaire.

Labour councillor Niamh Bhreathnach said it was a very commercial decision but one that they had to accept.

"If we are given extra charges, unfortunately we have to pass it onto the user," she said.

"We are already under serious pressure at the minute and there are a limited number of places as it is.

"I haven't heard a lot of comments from constituents about this, but no doubt they will look for clarification once the system comes into place."

Cllr Breathnach said the current price of land did not alleviate the availability of places to source for car park.

"The whole management of parking in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown area is difficult at the moment," she added.

Struggling

"There has been a lot of discussion from retailers in the area who are struggling to get turn over with the increased parking charges."

Cllr Bhreathnach said they would like to be in a position to see reduced charges introduced for commuters to encourage the use of public transport, but unfortunately their hands were tied.

She said that if there were amendments to the Government's ruling, the savings would be passed on to customers.

The changes come into effect this month while all current charges for on-street parking remain the same.


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