Parking charges on Sundays will drive people out of Galway City, local businessman Jimmy Griffin of Griffin’s Bakery has warned.
Galway City Council is set to introduce a fee for parking on Sundays from 1pm to 6pm in January.
The move was agreed by Fine Gael, Labour and a majority of Independent councillors at last week’s budget meeting. The local authority has estimated that the new charges will bring in €170,000.
But local businesses have already voiced their opposition to the plan. “This will be detrimental for businesses in the city centre,” said Mr Griffin, whose family bakery is located on Shop Street, adding that he has already noticed a drop off in customers from East Galway coming into the city.
“We have lost most of the customers from East Galway since the motorway opened. People can get onto the motorway and go to Athlone to shop where they can park for three euro for the whole day or park for free. Even if you add in petrol costs, there is no competition as the customers aren’t worrying about traffic wardens and getting a ticket.”
He added that his own customers say that they rarely come into town anymore. “They don’t come into the city because the traffic is horrendous and then parking charges are horrendous. They avoid coming in at all costs,” the city businessman added.
When they do come into town, the businessman said that he has noticed that they are “against the clock.”
“A lot of my own customers are in a rush. If your car is only one minute over the hour, you are charged for that whole hour, it’s very unfair.”
He added that the “very thought of extra costs for people to come into town will put people off”.
He believes there will be a drop off in those that come into town to have a coffee, meet a friend or do some shopping. “It makes the shopping expedition very expensive. It makes the coffee with a friend very expensive.”
And he doesn’t see the charges delivering €170,000 of income for the council. “People will avoid the town. Up to now it has been free on Sundays. People will vote with their feet and they will avoid the city. Enough is enough for people.”