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.
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.
the city will mark parking spaces for the use of health-care workers near hospitals.
Earlier on Monday, Károly Szita, the mayor of the city of Kaposvár and the head of the association of cities with county rights, called on mayors to “stand by the government and the operative board coordinating the epidemic response in their efforts to save lives.”
Referring to the government’s decision on parking and on allocating some road taxes previously paid to local authorities to the funding of central measures, Szita told public news channel M1 that “this is a time of action and not demands”. He called on mayors to “rise above party politics”.