70 out of 112 parking lots inspected in Riga do not comply with specific municipal construction regulations. Five parking lots have been closed down. If most of those parking lots end up closed, it could potentially increase demand for street parking.
Rīgas satiksme has confirmed that street parking prices may, indeed, go up in order to encourage car owners to use public transport, as reported by De Facto.
The most common problems found with parking lots included lack of proper surface, lack of central rain water sewer system, improper use of cash registers without coordination with the construction office. Only 37.5% of the 112 inspected parking lots complied with the necessary construction regulations. The majority of them (62.5%), however, were built arbitrarily. 21 parking lots have been ordered to close down immediately. The lack of bushes and trees was the reason why the parking lot was closed down on the intersection of Brivibas Street and Dzirnavu Street.
EuroPark is one of the largest parking providers in Riga. Its turnover exceeded EUR 4 million and revenue came close to EUR 500,000 in 2014. However, EuroPark is not the only parking service provider. The Construction Office has come under criticism for its allegedly recent measures to organize this industry. According to the Construction office, however, efforts to organize this industry had begun four years ago. Nevertheless, parking lot owners have yet to respond to the institution’s requests. «The fact that there is no place to park cars is not a reason for setting up parking lots everywhere,» – commends the head of Riga Construction Office Inguss Vircavs. He remembers the time when EuroPark representative had come to him personally. According to him, they said that if the office applies construction requirements, the business would not be sustainable. So they asked for derogations. When he said the office cannot possibly apply derogations of that kind, they left. Now, Vircavs says, they claim they say nothing of the sort was ever discussed.
Nevertheless, Vircavs’ mentioned derogations are noticed in some cases. For example, in territories landscaped by Riga City Council. Several years ago, the municipality opened a leisure park and swimming area in Lucavsala. The parking lot there, however, has existed for a long time, and possibly does not comply with proper regulations. It is also worth mentioning that there are no road signs that suggest parking is allowed there. Vircavs explains: ‘We have begun inspecting parking lots with the city centre. Once parking lots there have been inspected and all decisions regarding parking fees are settled, we will move on to other territories.’
There is another notable player on the parking lot business arena besides EuroPark – the municipal Rīgas satiksme. RS mainly provides street parking services. In 2014, RS administered more than EUR 7 million in parking fees. This revenue formed 5% of the company’s total revenue. This proportion had grown to 6% in 2015.
Closure of the majority of parking lots in Riga may increase demand for street parking. ‘Of course, parking lots become overfilled and prices go up, people will be more motivated to use public transport,’ – notes RS press-secretar Viktors Zakis.