TRADERS in Palma will offer customers one to two hours of free parking from April 1, thanks to 45'000 tickets which the Palma city council will distribute to them, under a new promotional scheme. Details were announced yesterday by councillor Sebastià Sansó, the councillor in charge of commerce.
He said that the scheme has a budget of 134'500 euros.
Consumers will be given a ticket provided their purchases come to more than a certain amount and they shop frequently in the city centre.
The tickets will be valid for the car parks in the Parc de la Mar, Via Roma, Comte Sallent, Santa Pagesa and Comte d'Ampurias.
The traders must purchase the tickets through Fundación IBI Comerç (set up by the business organisations Afedeco and Pimeco), which is collaborating in the project. The ticket will entitle the shopper to park any day in any of the car parks which are backing the scheme, and depending on the ticket, they will be entitled to one or two hours' free parking. The slogan of the new project is “free parking for using small shops”.
The scheme has the full backing of the city council, the IBI Comerç Foundation, INFOF, the Municipal Car Park Society (SMAP) and the Balearic Commerce ministry. Its aim is to make Palma “a more attractive city” which invites people to stroll around and enjoy what it has to offer, Sansó said.
For the first three months, IBI Comerç will cover 50 percent of the cost of the tickets (31'500 euros). Its contribution will rise to 80 percent from July 1. SMAP, for its part, will contribute 20 percent (12'600 euros), INFOF 30 percent (19'000 euros) plus 11'500 euros for promotion, and the Balearic commerce ministry will provide 60'000 euros for the communication campaign. “Shoppers are in luck,” according to Pere Ferrer, acting chairman of IBI Comerç, who added that residents will be able to enjoy the best shops in Majorca and Palma in general. “A city with fewer cars and more people will encourage window shopping and people will buy more. Consumers will find it easier to gain access to small shops,” Ferrer said.
AFEDECO (the Balearic Traders Federation) is backing the scheme and it is also opposing the city council's new parking restrictions in the centre.
Chairman Pau Bellinfante called on the council to withdraw its new category of parking (ZAR - Parking Area Restricted to Residents) in the Plaza del Olivar area, which has many small shops in the narrow adjacent streets. Bellinfante said that the new category was unnecessary as residents had no parking problems, since the ORA (restricted parking) scheme regulated the situation perfectly. He accused transport councillor Alvaro Gijon of trying to cause a division between residents and traders, which should be avoided. He pointed out that areas which have an active shopping area increase in value and do not get run down. As to Calle Blanquerna, he wants traffic restored and claims that since changes were introduced, shop takings have dropped between 20 and 40 percent.
He added that small shops have lost a lot of customers, especially among people who would come into Palma from outlying towns and villages or those who lived on the outskirts, because of the difficulty of finding parking space in the centre. Hence the importance given to the new scheme of offering free parking as an inducement to favour the small shops.