Retailers angry as big Dutch cities hike parking fees again

Photo: DutchNews

With councils in Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam announcing plans to raise parking fees, retailers are becoming increasingly concerned that  city-centre parking will be for the ‘happy few,’ the AD said on Friday.

Charges in Amsterdam are set to go up to €7.50 from €5, in The Hague they are rising to €4.50 from €3.50, while those in Utrecht have gone up to €5.20 (€4.70) per hour. Rotterdam’s brand-new city council has not yet determined the new hourly charges, but it has earmarked an extra €7m earned fromin parking fees in the new budget.

The planned parking fee rises in the four big cities is bad news for residents, visitors and businesses. ‘The prices are soaring up without restraint,’ said Hans Biesheuvel of business lobby group Ondernemend Nederland. ‘It’s hitting the small businessman hard.’

‘If prices continue to rise so much, shoppers will avoid the city centres. The prices in Amsterdam are exorbitant,’ Sander Golberdinge, director of retailers group Detailhandel Nederland told the AD. ‘If you don’t offer your customers an alternative, you have a problem. He added parking fees had risen in 80% of the country’s 36 biggest shopping cities over the past five years.

Small business association MKB Nederland said cities will soon only be affordable for the ‘happy few’ while motorists organisation ANWB questions whether there are sufficient affordable alternatives such as Park & Ride schemes, public transport and bicycle paths.

The cities are using most of their projected extra €150m parking income to fund their ambitious environmental and transport projects, the AD said.

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