Give high parking fees the red light

With talk of a congestion charge, the BusConnects project cutting a swathe through driving lanes and the proposed banning of diesel cars, it’s tough being a car owner. One of the biggest gripes is over the cost of parking.

Public car parks vary widely in cost depending on location and management company. Most open between 7-8am and close around midnight-1am.

Twenty-four-hour car parks include Jervis, Q-Park at Grand Canal, and Stephen’s Green and ParkRite at Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, along with the airport car parks.

In Cork, Kent Station, Q-Park at Grand Parade and Carroll’s Quay are also 24-hour. Many others offer discounted overnight rates to leave your car but it’s worth noting the earliest ‘get-in’ time as it could be after 8pm.

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Street parking

There are six colour-coded zones for on-street parking, if payment is indicated. Some streets may have different zones on different sides, which makes it easy to get caught out. Zones are priced on demand (see panel), and were last increased in July 2019. There is a maximum of three hours’ parking and the rules state you cannot re-park in the same place for at least an hour between parking bouts.

Parking tickets are issued by An Garda Síochána. “There are varying levels of charges depending on the type of offence and whether penalty points have also been incurred. You can pay your parking ticket at any Post Office,” says Dublin City Council. You can also download a zone map from the local authority or dsps.ie in Dublin.

Clamping

Clamping comes under the remit of local authorities, who set the hours/days and fees.

An average of 129 cars per day are clamped (23,383 in the first half of 2019). De-clamping costs €80 publicly, but can be more in private car parks.

The most common reasons for getting clamped are non-payment for parking (there is a 10-minute ‘grace’ period), parking in a clearway, on a footpath or in a loading bay, in that order.

If your car is dangerously parked or left over 24 hours, it can be towed to a city pound where you will pay a daily rate for storage until released.

The top places to get clamped in Dublin are Mespil Road, Ranelagh, South Circular Road, Waterloo Road and Burlington Road.

Hospitals

The HSE earned €11.9m last year in parking fees, despite a 2018 review recommending they be capped at €10 per day.

Only some regional A&E car parks are free. If you have a family member who is a longer-term patient, many hospitals have discounted parking if you ask.

Tech help

A parking app is probably the easiest way to avoid falling foul of colour zones.

Parkingtag.ie (allowing Vodafone and Three customers to pay by mobile phone bill), payzone.ie’s parking app and parkbytext.ie are the most popular, and save you scrambling for coins. Parkopedia.ie is a site which manages real-time parking, letting you find and book parking by area, giving you cost, distance and availability.

Making money

Parking usually costs money, but if you are lucky enough to live near a high-demand area like a sports arena or concert venue, you can make cash by renting out your driveway.

Parkpnp.com matches spare spaces (often in private complexes) with motorists for an agreed fee.

Make sure it is yours to rent though (apartment management companies may not be happy) and remember, like Airbnb, all income is subject to tax.

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