Parisians vote to triple parking fees for SUVs

53 days ago

2 minutes

Source: France 24

According to official results from city hall, Parisian voters on Sunday approved a proposal by the city’s socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, to triple parking fees for large SUV-style vehicles.

In the recent vote, 54.55% of Parisians supported a proposal to increase parking charges for cars weighing 1.6 tonnes or more to €18 per hour in the city centre and €12 further out. However, only 5.7% (78,000) of the 1.3 million eligible voters participated at the 39 voting stations across the French capital.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo celebrated the outcome as a “clear choice of Parisians” in favour of a measure deemed “good for our health and good for the planet.” Exemptions include fully electric cars exceeding two tonnes, Paris residents or workers, taxi drivers, tradespeople, health workers, and people with disabilities.

Supporters, like Gregoire Marchal, emphasized the ecological and societal aspects of the measure, encouraging a reconsideration of personal behaviour regarding car use. Nevertheless, not all voters shared the sentiment, with some expressing dissatisfaction with what they perceived as Hidalgo’s dictatorial approach.

Under Hidalgo’s leadership, Paris has implemented measures such as pedestrianizing streets and building cycle lanes to discourage driving and reduce emissions. SUVs, labelled an “aberration” by environmental group WWF, have been singled out for their increased fuel consumption, safety concerns, and greater use of public space.

Critics argue against the imprecise targeting of SUVs, with concerns raised about the scheme’s classification and potential impacts on different types of vehicles. The opposition questions the transparency of the referendum, accusing the city government of manipulation.

Drivers’ groups and France’s Environment Minister, Christophe Bechu, criticize the SUV surcharge as punitive environmentalism, advocating for a focus on vehicle weight rather than a specific category. Hidalgo’s transport chief estimates that around 10% of Paris vehicles would be affected, generating up to €35 million annually.

The anti-SUV initiative in Paris has inspired similar plans in Lyon, where the Green party mayor intends to introduce a three-tier parking fee for residents and visitors starting in June. The recent referendum’s turnout echoes a trend seen in a previous vote on banning rental scooters, emphasizing the challenges of engaging citizens in local decision-making.


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