THE price of parking your car in Palma could rise by 54 percent over the next four years.
The council is currently studying a proposal from the municipal company in charge of the city's underground car parks, SMAP, to increase charges to make up losses of 1.4 million euros.
SMAP is proposing to raise the cost of parking by 15 percent this year, followed by a further rise of 15 percent in 2009. In 2010, the increase would be 9 percent, according to the proposal, but in 2011 there would be another 15 percent rise.
The proposal came before a meeting of SMAP yesterday and contradicts the wish expressed in February by the company's managing director, Joan Antoni Llauger, to reduce charges in order to make parking in the city more attractive. Llauger was referring to the underground car parks at Santa Pagesa, Manacor and Sa Riera and then suggested introducing a system whereby motorists would pay by the minute.
The Head of Transport in Palma Council, Joaquin Rodriguez, said that the motive for the increase was the necessity to compensate for the losses of 1.4 million euros that the public company has experienced at a time when citizens are being reminded that those who want to come to the city in their car have to pay for it.
Three of the car parks in the city are already registering very low use: Sa Riera, Calle Manacor and Santa Pagesa have at most time more than half their spaces free.
Last year 1'177'000 motorists used the city's car parks.
This was some 300'000 more than the year before, a figure explained partly by the opening of new car parks in the city.
A number of new car parks are currently getting ready to open in the city, such as those at Antoni Maura and the Marques de la Senia.
SMAP is not the only municipal company in Palma currently looking at a deficit.
Of the city's five public companies, only EMOP, Palma's municipal works and projects company is in the black, closing last year 2.2 million to the good.
The remainder of the companies registered losses, EMAYA, 1.6 million euros, EMT, 2.2 million euros, and Municipal Cemetery, 1.8 million euros.