WIf he stops near his apartment, he will soon have to pay much more – at least if it is to help the German environment on its way.
The association requires states and federal cities to increase the parking fee for residents across the country to at least €360 per year. In many places, massive SUVs are still likely to provide public space for a few cents a day.
Many states and municipalities have slowed “reasonable fees” for parking — and with it, commuting has shifted. The fees have to be so high that people who don’t depend on their car question the ownership of their car.
In many residential areas, especially in large cities, parking is only allowed with a parking permit. Residents must be able to walk home.
Resident parking is cheap compared to buses and trains
Compared to the cost of bus and train tickets, parking permit fees of at least €360 per year are still low, says German Environmental Aid (DUH). An inquiry by Environmental Aid revealed that only five states allow municipalities to charge “reasonable fees” for residents’ parking permits. The results were made available to the German Press Agency. Municipalities such as Erfurt, Cologne and Stuttgart will have the option of charging higher fees, but they will not, according to DUH.
The Environmental Assistance Office sees the regulations in Freiburg and Tübingen as role models. In Freiburg, an average fee of 360 euros per year is planned. According to DUH, 480 euros are paid annually for large SUVs and vans. Tübingen requires a 50 percent higher annual fee for particularly heavy “city tanks” than for smaller cars – 180 euros.
The federal government has abolished the upper limit for parking permits
In the middle of 2020, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat abolished the nationwide upper limit for parking permits for residents of €30.70 per year – and since then, states and municipalities have been able to regulate fees for urban areas with a significant lack of parking spaces. State governments can enact fee schedules for this purpose.
“Public places are scarce and competition is increasing,” says Jürgen Resch, DUH’s federal managing director. Every year the number of cars registered in Germany increases by half a million. At the same time, registered cars became taller, wider and heavier. However, residents of most cities are allowed to provide public spaces with huge SUVs and vans for just 8 cents a day.”
According to DUH, this is only a fraction of the fees charged in many cities abroad. The Agora Verkehrswende think tank also believes that parking spaces for residents in Germany are very cheap. “The fees do not reflect the costs nor the actual benefit,” says a paper presented in January. A parking permit in Stockholm, for example, costs around 1,300 euros per year.
Disagreements in the federal states
German Environmental Aid distributed green, yellow and red cards to the federal states. Five federal states received a green card: in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia, cities are allowed to charge reasonable fees for residents’ parking. Bavaria, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein received a red card – these states have not yet decided whether to give their municipalities more options.
According to DUH, all other federal states – Berlin, Bremen, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Saxony – have said they plan new parking fee regulation, but are currently still discussing the design. There was a yellow card from environmental assistance. The regulation has already been amended in Hamburg, but the annual fee of 65 euros still does not affect the directive. Therefore, Hamburg also received a yellow card from environmental assistance.
In the capital, Berlin, the coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party stipulates that by 2023 at the latest, the parking sticker fee should rise to 10 euros per month. The parking permit currently costs €10.20 per year.
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