THE boss of Park Magic, which provides the facility to pay for parking in the city, believes the free parking scheme could play into the hands of paid for car parks.
The council has moved to make car parking free every afternoon up until New Years Eve from mid-December.
Normally, to park on city streets, shoppers have to pay €2 for a two-hour ticket, or electronically.
Responding to the initiative on our website, www.limerickleader,ie, Mr Fitzgerald believes that the free parking spaces will be gobbled up by office workers on weekdays, forcing shoppers into the multi-storey car parks.
This, he argues, could do yet more damage to the city.
“Once on-street parking is made free all the spaces are taken immediately by office workers and then there are no spaces available for the shoppers. A shopper will come into the city and leave again in frustration as all the spaces will be taken. They can if they wish park in a multi-storey car park but the price is twice that of on-street parking after having been encouraged to come into town for free parking,” he said.
He believes the pay car park operators will do quite well out of the scheme anyway, “because they sell a lot of monthly tickets quite cheaply”.
Instead, he thinks the City Council should offer an incentive scheme, whereby they get money-back vouchers on their shopping once they have paid the price of a parking disc.
“The general thing is people just think it is great, and just leave their car for free. If I was them, I would have some kind of mechanism involved. A payback voucher. If you were a shopper, and you had something to get back out of it, then it would end up being free. But making it a free for all means it is almost free of regulation,” he told the Limerick Leader.
The free parking initiative on afternoons from December 8 has been welcomed after the council only offered the scheme Friday and Saturday last Christmas.