Staff Reporter
Anew “parking card”, valid in underground carparks in Palma managed by the Municipal Parking Organisation (SMAP) came into operation for the first time yesterday.

In the past, clients were charged by the hour. If a car was stationary at a particular parking lot for, say, 25 minutes, the customer would be charged for a complete hour.

Now, with the introduction of this new card, the holder can pay for parking in quarterly hour fractions.
The card was christened yesterday amongst users of the underground carparks in Palma along the Via Roma, Parc de la Mar, Santa Pagesa and Compte d'Empuries.

At Via Roma, there was very little client reaction and by 1pm, only 3 cards had been sold to people who routinely used the facility.
Few had heard
The underground carpark was almost full. José María Moreno had just parked his car and was heading towards the exit door. He was one of the few users of the parking lot in Via Roma who knew of the existence of the card. “Yes, I read about it,” he said, “but I didn't know it had started functioning”.
Generally though, few people acknowledged knowing about the existence of this form of paying parking fees which is available in three options. One card allows 25 hours of parking at a cost of 25 euros, another at 49 euros gives 50 hours, and a third costing 95 euros provides 100 hours of parking.

One of the exceptions to this rule was Enrique Vidal who already knew about the launch of the new card and was on his way to purchase one at the control booth at the underground park in Via Roma. “It's much easier paying in fractions of an hour” he affirmed.

At each of the entrance gates to the underground carparks, publicity sheets were available, advertising the new City Council scheme. The literature gave information on the advantages of using such cards and at which sites they could be purchased (at the control booths of underground carparks or by calling 971-214646).

A surprised client commented: “I didn't know anything about the existence of these cards. They seem a very good idea because parking in the “underground” can prove quite expensive. I was in another parking area for only 20 minutes and it cost me 1.20 euros”.

Other interviewees agreed on the card's advantages of letting the user pay by fractions. “Why should we pay for an hour's parking if we have only been here 15 minutes!” said one satisfied customer.

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