Annex 6 International Case Studies

Budapest, Hungary

Present Situation

  • Within Hungary, the parking problem is most significant in Budapest, as 20% of all cars in Hungary are registered in Budapest and thousands of commuters come into the city every day, increasing parking pressures over the years.
  • This problem has not been resolved with the construction of new off-street parking facilities, nor the introduction of Park N’ Ride facilities in Budapest, as these activities failed to produce a significant increase in the overall parking capacity, since at the same time, the number of on-street parking spaces decreased within the area.
  • The public has not wholeheartedly accepted parking regulations yet. Few people see an improved parking situation as a result of parking regulations as a service that must be paid for. Most people perceive paid parking as an extra tax, without obtaining anything in return.

Strategy

  • The introduction of paid parking in parts of the city, where the demand of parking spaces exceeds the supply. In these areas, all spaces have to be brought under regulation, with supporting discounts for residents.
  • Priorities given to the following groups (in order of descending priority): handicapped, residents, short-term parkers (shopping/business), and long-term parkers (work/commuter).
  • On-street parking management by a uniform organization, which works under the local authority’s interest.
  • Corresponding revenues invested in parking developments.
  • The introduction of uniform and coherent pricing system.

Policy and Organization

  • By mid-2003, Hungaropark (the Hungarian Parking Association) registered 49 cities in Hungary, where paid parking exists (comprising a total parking capacity of more than 100,000 parking spaces). Most of these cities use Pay-and-Display machines. In 24 of these cities, parking fees can be paid not only with coins, but also with smartcards as well.
  • On-street paid parking in Budapest started in 1993. The scheme gives priority to (in this order): handicapped, residents, short-term parking (shopping/business), and long-term parking (work/commuter). During the implementation of the concept, insufficient political consultation/ cooperation produced three companies/ associations that have different organizational structures altogether, and manage their on-street parking areas differently. Although these operators have similar practices, there are some basic differences, which result in differences in on-street parking systems, which causes confusion among vehicle drivers as tickets for one operator cannot be used in the readers of another (thus meaning that a ticket bought on one street under authority of one operator, cannot be used in a reader on an adjacent street, under the authority of a different operator). To remedy this situation, the operators have distributed both types of cards. One of the main elements of the parking policy in Budapest is to introduce a single card, which can be accepted throughout the whole of Budapest.
  • There are 24 local authorities in Budapest, comprised the city and the 23 districts. The local authorities are at the same level and have the same rights, but the districts depend on the city for some actions, including parking regulation. The Public Assembly of Budapest has the right to define the parking and penalty fees and also the time limits for parking. The owner of the area, the local authority, has to define the spaces for paid parking, while the fares are based on the uniform concept by the city. All operators work on this system.
  • The city of Budapest is working on a new parking policy. Some issues that will be introduced in this new parking policy include: (i) introducing uniform cashless payment (smart-cards, mobile phone-payment); (ii) controlling abuse of handicapped parking (as recent studies note that disabled permit usage comprises anywhere from 6–15% of all on-street spaces in Budapest); (iii) assuring that on-street spaces are to be used for short term paid parking and for the handicapped, while off-street parking facilities are to be used by residents and commuters; (iv) developing and implementing a uniform and coherent pricing system; and (v) increasing the usage of Park N’ Ride.

Enforcement

  • The software used for parking enforcement (by the roving parking attendants) has to (have the ability to) stay up-to-date with the latest changes in Hungarian law and user demands, meaning that specialized software has to be developed and remain under continuous development.
  • Hungarian people do not respect parking attendants and often question the validity of the Penalty Charge Notices (even if the license plate number, type, color are registered).
  • It has become commonplace for policemen and other authorities to take photographs or videos of various parking offenses, which are often used in a legal process.

Lessons to be Learned

  • The numerous local authorities involved in parking regulation impede the introduction and adoption of a parking strategy for on- and off-street parking.
  • Handicapped drivers are given top priority, followed by residents, then short-term parkers, and finally long-term parkers.
  • The various types of enforcement software for the roving parking attendants (across operators), makes enforcement and record-keeping problematic.
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