1 euro per day: German climate group calls for higher resident parking fees
In many residential areas in Germany, drivers need a permit to park their cars in front of their houses. But with the annual fees often far cheaper than a public transport season ticket, environmental associations are arguing that they do not discourage people from driving.
Parking permit fees should be increased to 360 euros per year, says DUH
Environmental Action Germany (DUH) is calling on all federal states and cities in Germany to increase the cost of residential parking permits to at least 1 euro per day, or 360 euros per year. They argue that, compared to the cost of tickets for trains and buses, parking permits in Germany are still comparatively cheap and therefore fail to incentivise people to opt for more environmentally friendly forms of transport.
In many areas, annual parking permits can cost as little as 10 euros per year, allowing huge cars like SUVs to park in public places for just a few cents per day. Instead, the DUH said, the fees should be so high that people who are not dependent on their vehicles should question their car ownership. Compared to the price of a public transport season ticket, 360 euros is still low.
Freiburg and Tübingen’s parking schemes considered exemplary by DUH
In mid-2020, the Bundestag and Bundesrat overturned a law that set the nationwide upper limit for parking permits at 30,70 euros per year. Since then, states and municipalities have been allowed to determine their own fees for urban areas with a significant lack of parking spaces, but few have made use of the amended regulation, and fees have generally remained low.
An investigation by the DUH found that only five federal states in Germany allow municipalities to charge “reasonable fees” for residential parking permits. Municipalities such as Erfurt, Cologne and Stuttgart have the option to charge higher parking fees, but do not do so.
DUH said that cities like Freiburg and Tübingen should act as role models for the entire country. In Freiburg, the local authorities are planning to increase the average fee for a parking permit to 360 euros per year, and up to 480 euros for larger cars like SUVs and pick-up trucks. Tübingen charges 120 euros per year, or 180 for larger cars. The city’s Green mayor, Boris Palmer, had originally wanted to charge 360 euros per year, but was forced to backtrack.
“Every year, the number of cars registered in Germany increases by half a million. At the same time, the cars registered are getting longer, wider and heavier,” said DUH Federal Managing Director Jürgen Resch. “Nevertheless, residents in most cities are allowed to park their huge SUVs and pick-up trucks in public areas for only 8 cents each day.”