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Coronavirus – Karácsony on Free Parking: Cheap Popularity Costs a Lot

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.04.07.

The blanket lifting of parking fees across the country recently announced by the government does not have the support of district mayors and will not succeed in its stated goal of thinning crowds using public transport, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony said on Monday. The measure will, however, raise the number of cars in the city, he said.

Karácsony cited on Facebook the mayor of Budapest’s 5th district, Fidesz’s Péter Szentgyörgyvölgyi, as saying that free parking would strip locals of parking places near their homes and increase traffic in downtown Budapest, which in turn raises the risk of coronavirus infections.

“The epidemic does not change the fact that Budapest’s inner districts currently have twice as many cars as parking spaces”, Karácsony said.

Free Public Parking in Hungary: Gain for Drivers, Loss for Local Governments

Data shows that many who would have otherwise stayed home had chosen to drive to town, he said, adding that the number of illegal parkers on Monday was close to that of a normal working day.

Karácsony said the city will mark parking spaces for the use of health-care workers near hospitals.

Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI