It is essential to transform Budapest’s parking subsidy system

The current parking subsidy system in the Hungarian capital is extremely unfair and wasteful. This was the conclusion of the teleconference held by Budapest district municipalities I., VI., VII. and VIII., and the Clean Air Action Group. Participants also made a proposal to restructure the management of public spaces in order to significantly improve the quality of life of the people.

The destruction of the environment has reached such a degree that mass car use is no longer sustainable, said András Lukács, President of Clean Air Action Group. As stated in CAAG’s recently published study, the current parking system encourages the purchase and use of cars, and the main reason for this is that users of parking spaces are not paying its costs. As a result, there is little room for community life, pedestrians, cyclists, vegetation in public areas, and this significantly impairs the residents’ quality of life.

In District VII, an online survey was conducted among the population on parking subsidies. According to Csaba Tóth, the head of the Climate Protection and Sustainability Cabinet of the municipality, the majority of the respondents agree that more pedestrian and green areas should be created at the expense of the parking spaces. The majority also considers it a good idea to stop subsidizing parking, and the generated income should be shared equally among the residents (this would be a subsidy worth about HUF 25,000 per resident per year). This support could be used to pay a parking fee or for environmentally friendly transport on demand. Currently the local government provides a subsidy of HUF 87-110 thousand a year to each local car owner by exempting them from paying the annual parking permit fee.

Similar and gradual transformation of the parking system is planned by Márta V. Naszályi, the mayor of District I, who also found that a significant part of the population has an old, outdated car, so it is likely that many of them would benefit from a financial support that could be used to pay for something else than a parking fee.

Máté Gyõrffy, the deputy mayor responsible for urban development in District VI considers unsustainable that 80 percent of public spaces are occupied by cars and only 20 percent are left for everything else. According to him, this should gradually change to 50-50 percent. Szilvia Temesvári, the district’s deputy mayor for environment and public participation added that a major information campaign is planned to make the public aware of the disadvantages of the current parking system and how much better their quality of life can be with the planned redevelopment of public space usage. They count on the support of NGOs in implementing their ambitious plans.

Dániel Rádai, the deputy mayor of District VIII responsible for urban development, also emphasized that people feel much better on a street that is not occupied by cars, hence the municipality will strive to transform public spaces accordingly, considering several technical and financial means that also help the population.

The materials of the teleconference are available in Hungarian: