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Free Parking in Hungary Ends Tomorrow

Csenge Schőnviszky 2020.07.01.

Free public parking, implemented amid the coronavirus crisis and having drawn criticism mostly from the opposition-led local goverments, will be abolished throughout Hungary from the 2nd of July. 

In early April, a government decree on free parking was issued, confirmed officially with “keeping safe distances” amid the pandemic situation.  “Since this is impossible or only possible to a limited degree on crowded public transport vehicles, it’s important to make sure that those who are able to can use their own cars,” the Prime Minister argued. However, this decision drew controversy as many municipal leaders feared losing important revenue while Budapest dictricts mayors argued that the goal is more to systematically bleed out local governments than as a meaningful measure against the epidemic.

Now, according to liberal 24.hu’s report, a driver pointed out that this would make it much easier to find a parking space. In Salgótarján, too, those who work in busy places are happy to go back to the paid system. So far, they have barely been able to find parking spaces. In addition, free parking has also hit municipalities. The Nógrád capital, for example, fell short of HUF 15 million (EUR 42 thousand) in revenue coming in from parking, a quarter of the total parking revenue.

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Moreover, the legislation that restores paid parking has also caused minor uncertainty for local governments. According to the text, there is no waiting fee until July 1, 2020, which practically could mean 0 hours or 24 hours on that day. According to the Mayor of the 14th district (Zugló) Csaba Horváth (MSZP), they wanted to start paid parking in Zugló on July 1st, as well as in several left-wing districts, but since the legislation can be interpreted in two ways, they have decided that starting on July 2nd is the safest.

Featured photo illustration via pixabay.com