Wisdom > Frankly

Should car-parking charges be based on the size of the vehicle?

You’ll have to pay more with a larger automobile

There's a nice view of the city atop the Cologne Cathedral. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Space is at a premium in Metro Manila. Not only are humans squeezed into every square meter of the metropolis, but cars are also taking up whatever spaces they can fit in.

Add to that the fact that vehicles seem to be getting bigger and bigger, and you have a real problem on your hands. A problem that requires innovative solutions.

One of them might come from the German city of Cologne, where authorities are now charging motorists for parking based on the size of their vehicles.

No one's saying you're not allowed to own something as big as a Chevy Suburban. Just park it inside a garage. PHOTO FROM CHEVROLET

Residents in the city that’s famous for its huge cathedral and small beers will have to cough up a lot more money for the privilege of parking their cars on residential streets. Not only have fees for residential parking permits just gone up fourfold, but the new fee structure also takes into account how big the car is.

Vehicles up to a length of 4,109mm must pay €100 (P6,000) per year. Those between 4,109mm and 4,709mm have to pay €110 (P6,600), and cars that measure between 4,710mm and 5,600mm will be charged €120 (P7,200).

Automobiles that are longer than 5,600mm are not eligible for residential parking permits at all, which is bad news for owners of models like the Chevy Suburban or the Toyota Hiace GL Grandia Tourer.

The aim of the massive price increase and the step to charge by vehicle length is to encourage residents to use smaller, less polluting cars or consider using alternative transportation such as bicycles or public transport. Despite their popularity, SUVs and other large private vehicles are often criticized by environmental groups and certain political factions in the country.

Imagine if commercial parking facilities charged more for larger vehicles. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

One look at the neighborhoods in the metro will show you that we also have a massive problem with cars clogging up our roads, both when they move and when they are parked.

Larger cars tend to have bigger engines and require more fuel to move around, thereby producing more pollution. They also take up more space, and are more dangerous in collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.

While some will now say that charging owners for parking outside their own homes based on how big their car is goes against the principle of free choice, others might argue that we need to start being more considerate toward each other.

Cars take up precious space, even when they're not moving. PHOTO FROM PIXABAY

The idea of a general congestion charge has also been floated before in Metro Manila, as has the concept of requiring car buyers to prove they have a private parking space before being allowed to purchase a vehicle. Neither of these measures have ever moved further than the idea stage, but at some point concepts like these will need to be looked at in more depth.

That is, if we ever really want to get a grip on the traffic issues that cost the country billions a year and kill thousands through pollution and collisions. Just building more Skyways and hoping for the best won’t cut it in the long run, but will any politicians be willing to take those unpopular steps and do what’s right?

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.