City center parking and public transport tickets will rise in price from July, Tartu City Council has said. Ticket hikes are needed to offset soaring fuel prices and stop long-term parking.
From the summer, parking fees in zones A and B will rise by 50 percent, the time period of paid parking on weekends will be extended until 7 p.m., and charges will be introduced to area A on Saturdays. The plans have not yet been agreed by the council.
Deputy Mayor of Tartu Raimond Tamm (Reform) said the cost of one hour of parking in area A will rise from €2 to €3 and area B will rise from €1 to €1.5. Long-term parking permits will increase by 20 percent.
Tamm recommended drivers abandon their cars at the weekend and come to the city using other means.
"Is it possible to find a way not to come to the city center by car, which is our first recommendation, and it is possible to leave a car even further away and come to the city center by public transport or a bicycle, for example," he said.
He said there is currently enough space in public parking lots for people to use.
ETV's evening news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" spoke to drivers on Tuesdsay who do not believe the new changes will work.
"Certainly not. I work in the city center myself, I come from Nõo. Where do I put my car then, I'm forced to spend more money, I still need a parking space," said Dagmar.
"Raising the price will definitely not solve the concern. If this money is used in such a way that more parking spaces are added, it will be useful, but I don't really see a good solution in Tartu where more parking can be provided," Olev said.
Public transport tickets rise
The council also plans to increase the cost of bus and bike tickets from July 1.
Tamm said gas prices for buses have risen sharply and maintaining the city's fleet of bicycles is also rising, especially the price of replacement spare parts.
"Our costs for bus transport are at least €3 million higher this year than last year. At the same time, most of today's bus ticket prices have been valid for 15 years, during which the average salary has more than doubled," he said, adding the council wants to continue to provide a good service.
It is planned to create a joint bus and bike ticket which would be cheaper than buying each separately.
The plans will be discussed at a council meeting on April 21.
Editor: Helen Wright