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Parisians have expressed their views on parking fees for large cars. “The stakes are high because it’s about oz

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The people of Paris have decided. In the referendum, they voted for tripling parking fees for drivers of large cars. Most likely, from September, six hours of parking an SUV in the center of Paris will cost EUR 225, i.e. the equivalent of almost PLN 1,000. This solution is good for our health and the planet, say the authorities of the French capital.

Parisians don’t want SUVs on the streets. The city wants to be more ecological and friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. In a referendum organized especially for this occasion, over half of the voters supported increasing parking fees for drivers of large cars.

– We invited the residents of Paris to send a clear message to car manufacturers: “stop producing heavy and polluting cars,” says Kevin Havet, representative of the Paris authorities. – It’s surprising when you look at the difference in fees between SUVs and small cars. Is it really necessary to have a large car in Paris? I don’t have a large family or animals, but we manage quite well. My son and I travel around the city by bike – adds Juliette Bruley, a resident of Paris.

France is preparing to host the Olympic GamesJakub Loska/Fakty o Świecie TVN24 BiS

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New rules

According to the new regulations – in the case of cars with combustion engines and hybrid vehicles weighing over 1,600 kilograms and electric cars over two tons – parking fees will be increased threefold. This means that for an hour of parking in the center of Paris you will have to pay 18 euros, in the rest of the city 12 euros. Although the turnout was less than 6 percent, the referendum is binding. The new tariffs may come into force at the beginning of September.

– The cost of living is high, raising children costs money, so parking in the city will be too expensive. I think that eventually we will have to stop using cars, but we need them for holidays and weekends, says Laure Picard, a resident of Paris. – In my opinion, this is not an issue that deserves a referendum. I agree with increasing fees, but the entire European Union should decide to limit the size of cars, says Gabriel Daguet, a resident of Paris.

READ ALSO: Larger Clean Transport Zone. “We want to eliminate the most poisonous vehicles”

In 2023, more than half of the vehicles sold in Europe were SUVs. According to Paris authorities, the weight of the average car has increased by 250 kilograms since 1990. The city claims that it organized the referendum because SUVs pollute the environment, take up a lot of space and threaten road safety. – Over the last 20 years, the number of SUVs has doubled. The stakes are high when it comes to air pollution. We are seeing an increase in the number of people suffering from asthma and ending up in emergency departments due to polluted air. There is also the issue of safety. A person is twice as likely to die under the wheels of an SUV than a small car, explains Kevin Havet.

France.  Air pollution in Paris in 2016

France. Air pollution in Paris in 2016Reuters Archive

Pro-ecological trend?

The increase will only apply to visitors. The new rules will exclude residents of Paris, those working in the capital, taxi drivers, health care workers and people with disabilities. According to the authorities, increasing parking fees could bring the city an annual income of EUR 35 million. Not everyone welcomed this solution. – I’m not sure parking fees are a good answer to air pollution. Parked cars do not emit any pollutants. In addition, fees are to be charged based on the vehicle’s weight, and some heavy cars are hybrids and electrics that emit less pollution, says Falavien Neuvy, director of Cetelem Automobile Observatory.

READ ALSO: City centers are not for old cars. “Poor people have to buy very expensive cars”

Paris has been putting pressure on drivers for years. The city reduced the number of parking spaces and gradually restricted the entry of diesel vehicles into the center. The authorities want more residents to use bicycles. Since 2020, over 80 kilometers of bicycle paths have been created in the city.

Since the lifting of Covid restrictions, the number of cyclists in Paris has increased by 71 percent. “We are proud of the fact that we are dealing with environmental issues at a time when ecology is presented as the source of all evil. It is a form of resistance, here in Paris, to this very disturbing movement,” emphasizes the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. Paris authorities hope that other European cities will follow suit. The Mayor of London has already announced that he will look into the solution that will be introduced on the Seine.

Author:Justyna Kazimierczak

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Reuters

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