Leave the engines running and avoid the parking charge

When you drive into work tomorrow morning, before you get out of your car, just sit there and enjoy the experience, feel the ground beneath your wheels, appreciate the view that your car has all day while you’re at work. Because from January, that privilege is going to cost you. Yes, that is cost you on top of the fee being paid by your company.

Sometime today (Thursday ), we will get details of the latest ridiculous aspect of the Early Budget when the full implications of the parking levy will be revealed. And yet another Mickey Mouse proposal is explained.

I think we should have an Early Budget every year because it seems the earlier the budget, the more ridiculous the proposals contained therein. It seems that the earlier the Budget, the less likely the chance that anybody will have read or thought it through. And so you end up with proposals like the parking levy which will do damn all for the environment, but will go a long way towards annoying commuters who are fed up seeing stupid proposals like this being dealt with far more quickly than the real issues of getting from home to work (and vice versa ). And so today we find out the workings of the fee that you will be charged for the privilege of being able to park your car, the car you have to bring to work because the public transport is either not available or not scheduled to suit workers.

There is no doubt that we would all love to take a train or bus in the morning going to work, or be like those cool uber-exec types you see in the movies who take ferries across the bays to Seattle or San Francisco, but alas that is not a choice offered to us here on this rain-lashed rock on the edge of the Atlantic.

All we know so far is that unlike the good things that we really need, there was no hesitation in adding Galway to the list of cities which will be hit by this. I don’t se Kilkenny hopping up and down saying ‘we’re a city’ for this one. Seemingly there are more than 50,000 car park spaces in the private and public sectors in the five locations (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Galway ) and the levy will be taken from your wages by your employer depending on your usage of the said space. For example, if you share the space with a fellow employee, then you will also share the levy.

There will be special concessions for part-time workers and shift workers so if you work late, you pay less. Let’s all do nights and really piss them off. Drivers with disabilities will thankfully be exempt from the measure. But hey, don’t hold your breath. There’s always next year’s Early Budget when maybe they’ll get around to charging the disabled for those cool parking spaces near the doors of shopping centres or in the heart of Eyre Square. Maybe if we leave the engines running, we’re technically just stopped and not parked. Now that would go down well at the higher levels of the Green Party.

Meanwhile, there are indications that the Government is to make changes to the airport departure tax that it included in the Budget.

It had originally planned to introduce a €10 fee for passengers flying out of Ireland on journeys greater than 300km. A lower rate of €2 was to apply for shorter trips, but doh, since we live on the very edge of everywhere and miles from anywhere, here was another proposal applauded by those Government members on that Budget day. Replay the tape folks and remember it come election time.

However, airports along the western seaboard complained that their passengers will be particularly affected by the new charge and so the chances are that it will be reversed, in order to make it more equitable. With all this talk of recapitalisation, with all these new charges, isn’t it time the Government thought about capitalising us.

declan varley [email protected]

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