The Paris authorities want to ask city residents in a referendum whether SUV drivers should pay more for parking. All this to discourage owners of large cars.
First, popular shared scooters disappeared from the streets of Paris by referendum, and now SUVs may disappear. The authorities of the French capital want the city’s residents to decide whether they are in favor of increasing parking fees for large passenger vehicles.
– We want to tell car manufacturers: stop. Stop designing such large cars, their dimensions are absurd. This is also a message to those who still use private cars in the city: in a few years you will not be welcome here, says David Belliard, deputy mayor of Paris responsible for transport.
A local referendum is planned for February 4 next year. Already in June, Paris councilors decided that it was necessary to make parking fees in the city dependent on the size of the car, its weight and the type of engine. Fees would be charged based on scanning license plates. Now the details of the initiative have been presented and it has been established that higher rates would apply to vehicles with an internal combustion engine weighing more than 1.6 tons, but also to electric vehicles weighing more than 2 tons.
– If you have an electric car weighing over two tons, i.e. a really large electric car, if the regulations come into force, you will have to pay a higher parking rate. Because should we replace huge combustion cars with huge electric cars? NO. Of course, a combustion car is worse for the environment, but the goal is to reduce the number of cars, explains Belliard.
The idea evokes mixed feelings
Some residents praise the idea, others are completely confused. – They encourage people to buy electric cars and then introduce additional fees – says David Cohen, an electric SUV driver. – The truth is that large cars are simply heavier and pollute more. I think it is completely normal to impose higher fees on the owners of such vehicles, argues Henri Duret, a resident of Paris.
The idea evokes very mixed feelings. – From an ecological point of view, it is an interesting solution. We’ll have to see how it works, but generally speaking, when someone buys an SUV, they can probably afford to spend a few extra euros, says Alexandre, a resident of Paris. – Everyone has the right to have the car they want. Simply freedom – says one of the tourists.
The project of toll increases was born after analyzing what is happening on Parisian roads. Although the number of private cars in Paris has decreased over the last decade, it has been noticed that their average size has increased. Over the past four years, the number of registered SUVs has increased by 60 percent, and such cars take up much more space on sidewalks and roads. According to local politicians, this is simply the result of fashion, which is extremely unfavorable in the fight against the climate catastrophe.
– If Parisians express strong opposition to SUVs in the city, perhaps this will create space to talk about it on the national and European forum – says Belliard.
“Car owners are punished not only in Paris”
Some drivers’ associations complain that this is simply about additional funds in the city budget. As usual, car owners will be the victims. – As you know, car owners are punished not only in Paris, but everywhere. They are treated like cash cows. We have a 60% fuel tax, a 40% tax on highway tolls and low emission zones, points out Philippe Noziere from the Association for Car Drivers.
Paris argues that SUVs are also more dangerous for pedestrians due to their size. There is a counter-argument to every such argument. – I would say that today SUVs and cars in general are much heavier and more massive than before. This is for safety and comfort reasons. Manufacturers put a lot of effort into creating these vehicles. This, of course, translates into additional weight, says Noziere.
The inhabitants of Paris itself, even if they support the city hall in its aspirations, will not suffer much. Residents of the suburbs who travel to the capital by private means of transport may be most affected by the changes in regulations. However, they will not be asked for their opinion on this matter.
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Main photo source: Reuters