Cut-price city parking deal to be ditched
A HALF-price parking scheme to encourage shoppers into Dublin city centre is to be ditched as too costly.
Dublin City Council says it cannot sustain the loss of more than €150,000, particularly when the initiative was used mainly by commuters.
The council pointed out the number of people taking advantage of the scheme showed a marked reduction at weekends.
The promotion, which ran for six weeks over Christmas and New Year, was open to motorists who use the council's cashless parking tag system.
An analysis of the figures showed the initiative cost the local authority €152,100 for the month-and-a-half duration.
An aim of the scheme was to encourage more motorists to register for the electronic tag system, whereby users can pay for on-street parking by phone.
The council has run the promotion for the past three years in an effort to promote shopping in the city during the festive period.
When the initiative was introduced in 2009, it involved the provision of 1,380 free parking places in the core city area on Thursday nights and all day on Saturday and Sunday between November 18 and December 27.
"This promotion was quite labour-intensive and somewhat confusing to the public and it did not generate any direct benefit to the council," council official Brian Riddick noted.
The following year, half-price parking was offered to parking tag customers only, from November 15 to January 9. The aim was to encourage shoppers as well as promote the tags.
"The system provides an alternative to [parking] machines and may permit a future reduction in the number of such machines, reducing capital and revenue cost to the council," Mr Riddick said.
As the period of the promotion coincided with a big freeze, it was not possible to accurately ascertain the benefits, he added.
While the local authority has recommended against implementing the initiative again this December, it has suggested a scaled-down version targeting weekend shoppers be introduced.