At the end of June, the General Assembly of Budapest accepted a proposal that raises the parking prices of Budapest and creates a set of zones with differing price rates. The new system will be in effect from 5 September.
Before the new system was implemented, Budapest had a complicated system of 27 different parking zones, each with their own prices. The apparent idea behind the new law and the new prices was to simplify the system, by creating four separate zones, named A, B, C and D.
Prices of the Zones
One can only park in these zones for a maximum of three hours
Zone A is the most expensive, with parking costs set at 600 Forints per hour between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Parking in Zone B costs 450 Forints between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., while C is priced at 300 between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Zone D is the cheapest, with only 200 Forints charged between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Another part of the new regulation is that in Zones A, B and C, the amount of parking time is limited: one can only park in these zones for a maximum of three hours. Zone D is the only one that has no such limitations. Parking prices in the capital before the proposal was accepted fluctuated between 175-525 Forints – meaning that the price of parking in Budapest increased overall by about 10 per cent.
The Secretary General of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ákos Csókay has expressed his concerns about the increase in prices. He said that the idea of the new zones is reasonable, and in his opinion, it is going to help people to orient themselves in the city. However, he also added that increasing parking prices is anything but a good step forward. He stated that extra profits generated by the price hike should be spent on creating new parking spaces, since inner city parking is already a huge problem.
‘You cannot run a shop, and stock your shelves using a tram or a bicycle’
He also suggested that these new prices are only going to benefit large shopping centres and will harm small businesses, adding that many shop owners in the inner city have already complained that they are unable to work, since they cannot find a parking space. ‘You cannot run a shop, and stock your shelves using a tram or a bicycle’, he added.
The previous mayor of Budapest, István Tarlós also commented on the topic. He expressed the view that the new rates are ‘horror-prices’, and they will not solve the parking crisis. He said it was incomprehensible why the new regulation was implemented, recalling that in 2019, of Budapest’s 23 districts nine had free parking.
Mixed Results at Best
The new parking regulations seem to have positives and negatives, both for car and small business owners. The new zones will make parking rules more transparent and more understandable for the average citizen. The increased prices, however, will make it harder for anyone to park in the city, and many may end up leaving their cars at home due to the higher fees. Some may celebrate that as a positive change in attitudes, which plays into the plans of the current mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony, who wants to reduce car use and promotes public transport and bicycles instead. The new system will undoubtedly help Karácsony to work toward his goal, however, he may cripple the business of small-shop owners in his city while at it.