Parking Fees Rise in Downtown Reykjavík

architecture downtown Reykjavík houses square

Higher parking fees took effect in central Reykjavík this month and have been criticised by some politicians and locals. The city has instituted paid parking on Sundays for the first time and extended the hours when parking is paid on other days.

In the P1 and P2 zones, parking will be paid until 9:00 PM throughout the week. It was previously free after 6:00 PM on weekdays and 4:00 PM on Saturdays. On Sundays, parking will be subject to fees between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM.

Three-hour limit in P1 and P2

Guðbjörg Lilja Erlendsdóttir, Director of Transport at the City of Reykjavík, says this change was implemented to accommodate residents and shop owners in the city centre. “The aim of the fees is that as many people as possible can get parking when they need it. Therefore, in toll zone 1, where there are a lot of shops and services, we are also implementing a maximum time of three hours, and are extending the toll hours in zones 1 and 2. All this is done so that residents and visitors get more parking when they need it,” Guðbjörg told RÚV. It’s important to note that residents within paid parking zones can apply for residential cards, allowing them to park within applicable parking zones for free.

Fee increase to ISK 600 in P1

In the P1 zone, the cost of parking will also increase to ISK 600 [$4.31, €4.11] per hour, from the previous rate of ISK 430 [$2.95, €3.09] per hour. However, parking will now be free in zone P3 on Saturdays. A count revealed that parking spaces were better used on Sundays than Saturdays, so the change may help to better distribute weekend traffic in the city centre.

Independence Party politician Kjartan Magnússon criticised the steep price hike in the P1 zone, which amounts to some 40%. Guðbjörg says there has been relatively little response to the changes overall, however.

New Fees at Jökulsárlón Could Generate Up To ISK 40 Million

jökulsárlón parking fee

Park rangers for Vatnajökull have stated that the necessary infrastructure will soon be in place to introduce fees at Jökulsárlón, one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations.

The new fees would be introduced this June, and could potentially generate some ISK 40 million [$285,000; €266,000].

Read More: 72% of Icelanders Support Tourism Fee

According to rangers for South Iceland, new cameras will be set up in April of this year and will be tested for two months, before becoming fully operational this June.

Future visitors to Jökulsárlón in private passenger vehicles can expect to pay ISK 1,000 [$7.10; €6,70] for parking, though visitors who also visit Skaftafell will receive a 50% discount. Camping fees will not be included in this amount.

The introduction of a parking fee at Jökulsárlón has been discussed as a possibility for some time. Initial proposals first came in 2017, when the Icelandic state acquired all of the land surrounding the popular glacial lagoon. According to RÚV, nearly 1 million tourists visit the area annually. This volume of visitors means that the area is expensive to maintain.

In Focus: Privately Owned Tourist Sites

Although by Icelandic law, all land is open to the public, increasing numbers of visitors to Iceland have raised concerns in recent years about the sustainability of the tourism industry. Notably, these laws, known traditionally in English as “the right to wander,” do not cover services, such as parking and bathrooms.

 

Reykjavík City Announces Expansion of Paid Parking Zones

architecture downtown Reykjavík houses square

Changes will soon be made to paid parking zones in Reykjavík, the City announced yesterday. A recent tally indicates that parking spaces just outside paid-parking zones are heavily used.

Heavy use of spaces just outside paid parking zones

Yesterday, the City announced that it will be expanding paid parking zones in Reykjavík. According to a press release, a recent tally has indicated that spaces just beyond paid parking zones are heavily used. This gives “occasion to expand paid-parking zones in specific areas” and in accordance with regulations. The expansion will mainly apply to Zone 2 parking spaces but also to Zone 1 and 3.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the City’s Environment and Planning Branch (Umhverfis- og skipulagsráð) approved a proposal, which has subsequently been referred to City Council. The proposal has also been put to the capital area police where it met with approval. The proposal will, however, not come into effect prior to approval and publication by City Council. Appropriate signage and metres must also be installed within new paid-parking zones.

The following parking zones will be expanded:

  • Parking Zone 1
    • Grettisgata between Rauðarárstígur and Snorrabraut
  • Parking Zone 2
    • Hrannarstígur
    • Öldugata, Bárugata, Ránargata, and Vesturgata (between Ægisgata and Stýrimannastígur
    • Stýrimannastígur
    • Blómvallagata
    • Ásvallagata and Sólvallagata (east of Hofsvallagata)
    • Hávallagata (between Hofsvallagata and Blómvallagata)
    • Tjarnargata (from no. 33 to Hringbraut)
    • Bjarkargata
    • Baldursgata (between Freyjugata and Skólavörðustígur)
    • Lokastígur and Þórsgata up to Skólavörðustígur
    • The area between Laugavegur, Rauðarárstígur and Bríetartún
  • Parking Zone 3
    • Baldursgata and Bragagata (from Nönnugata to Freyjugata)
    • Freyjugata (from Baldursgata to Njarðargata)

As noted by the press release, residents within paid parking zones can apply for residential cards. Conditions being met, holders of residential cards are allowed to park within applicable parking zones for free.

Parking Not Free at Eruption Site

Meradalir eruption 2022

Although authorities are still advising those who are not experienced hikers to refrain from visiting the eruption at Meradalir, an increasing number of tourists and local visitors are making their way there. However, many may be surprised to discover that parking in the nearest lots isn’t free and that a fine will be levied against anyone who doesn’t pay it. RÚV reported as part of its ongoing, updated coverage of the eruption.

During last year’s nearby eruption, the Hraun Landowners’ Association established two parking lots that are still in use. The daily parking fee at both is a modest ISK 1,000 [$7.30; €7.17], payable through the parka.is website or app. Those who don’t pay the fee, however, are charged a fine of ISK 4,750 [$34.67; €34.06]. (For Icelanders, this fee appears as a bill in their online bank account; how this fee is charged to foreign visitors was unclear at time of writing.)

See Also: Eruption in Meradalir: Everything We Know So Far

Signs are posted in both lots indicating that there is a daily charge for parking. But some who’ve been hit with the fourfold fine say the signage needs to be improved, particularly as the current notices are difficult to see when there are many cars parked in the lot.

Sigurður Guðjón Gíslason, head of the Landowners’ Association, says that work is underway to improve the posted signage. Looking ahead, he said that Hraun is considering installing cameras and automated charging systems at the parking lots which would be similar to those found in capital-area parking garages.

Challenging 13-km hike poses risks for inexperienced visitors

The eruption is located in Meradalir valley, further inland from the Fagradalsfjall eruption that occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula last year. The hike to the site is around 13 kilometres [8.1 miles] long and includes considerable elevation. Several people were injured while hiking there last Wednesday; one had to be evacuated by helicopter with a broken ankle.

Suðurnes Police Commissioner Úlfar Lúðvíksson reminded the public that the hike is difficult and not for everyone. He told RÚV that many visiting the eruption on its first night were not carrying flashlights, though it has begun to get dark in the evenings.

Those who do visit the eruption also need to be particularly aware of the risk of gas poisoning. Authorities advise visitors to avoid bringing children, who are more sensitive to toxic gases and more prone to poisoning, as heavy toxic gases collect closer to the ground. The same is true of pets such as dogs. On calm days, poisonous gasses are likely to collect in low-lying areas.

Off-road driving is banned at the site, as everywhere else in Iceland. Several individuals were fined for off-road driving near the eruption earlier this week.

Drivers Can Now Choose Between Two Parking Apps

With the advent of the new app Parka, drivers can now choose between two apps when parking their vehicles in Reykjavík, and near specified tourist attractions in Iceland, Kjarninn reports. As the company intends to generate income by other means, users will not have to pay service fees or additional costs. 

No Service Charges

Parka, a new parking app, has recently offered early access to drivers in Iceland. Before Parka, the only app option for drivers was Leggja, which the Swedish company EasyPark recently acquired. The Parka app introduces a few new features, such as no service charges for users. 

Generating Income by Other Means

Parka, which was created by Computer Vision, aims to simplify the process of paying for parking by saving the location of the parking space, by displaying payment areas on a map, and by sending free reminders to users to deregister vehicles from parking spaces. The app allows users to pay for parking in downtown Reykjavík, in Höfðatorg square in Reykjavík, at the Þingvellir National Park, and the Skaftafell area at the Vatnajökull National Park. 

Parka will not charge users service fees or additional fees, according to Computer Vision. Instead, the company intends to generate income by other means, via “novel solutions” that the company plans to introduce over the next few days. Leggja charges a service fee of ISK 95 each time that a driver parks their vehicle. Users also have the option of paying a fixed monthly fee. 

“We’re confident that we can generate income by other means. We see many opportunities that we will be introducing over the coming days. We’re an innovation company that focuses on solutions. We put the customer first. Parka aims to make the lives of its users easier through automation. Our dream is that when you park your car you won’t even have to open the app. We will be testing this feature at Hafnartorg square,” Ægir Finnsson, Technical Director at Parka, stated in an interview with Kjarninn.

EasyPark Acquires Leggja

Before Parka, Leggja was the only parking app in Iceland. It was founded in 2008 by the software company Stokki, which was acquired by Já in 2017. Já announced yesterday that the Swedish parking company EasyPark had purchased Leggja. The company will invite users of Leggja to switch over to the EasyPark app in the coming days. EasyPark offers parking solutions in over 1,300 cities in 18 countries. 

“EasyPark is a leading player in the field of parking, offering solutions that are constantly being updated and improved, which will benefit Icelanders. This is exciting news for Leggja’s customers,” Vilborg Helga Harðardóttir, CEO of Já, stated in a press release. 

City Centre Parking Zones and Hours Extended, Rates Increased

Proposed extension of parking zone 1

The Reykjavík Planning and Transport Committee has approved a proposal to extend parking fee hours for popular locations in the city centre and will start charging parking fees on Sundays. In addition, parking rates will go up in all tariff zones.

Zone 1 will be extended as the map above shows. The extended parking fee hours for zone will be 9 AM-8 PM on weekdays and 10 AM-8 PM Saturdays. On Sundays, parking fees will be collected from 10 AM-4 PM. Both of these changes exclude Borgartún.

Parking fee rates for zone 1 will go from 340 ISK (EUR 2.47 – USD 2.74) per hour to 400 ISK (EUR 2.91 – USD 3.23) per hour. Zones 2 and 4 will change from 190 ISK (Eur 1.38 – USD 1.53) per hour to 200 ISK (EUR 1.45 – USD 1.61) and zone 3 will go from charging  190 ISK (Eur 1.38 – USD 1.53) per hour for the first two hours and 55 ISK (EUR 0.40 – USD 0.44) per hour after that to simply charging 100 ISK (EUR 0.73 – USD 0.81) per hour.

The People’s Party’s Observer in the Planning and Transport Committee entered in the official minutes that “the proposals were focused on making it harder for car users to drive to the city centre. The result will be immediate, more and more Icelanders, suburban residents, will stop visiting the city centre.”

The Pirate Party, Social Democratic Alliance, and the Reform Party’s counter-entry stated that “the extension of parking fee zones and hours was in accordance with the city’s policy on parking issues. Its intended goals were better traffic control, more economic use of parking, and increased revenue. A reasonable fee collection encourages us of divers modes of transport and reduces use of beautiful city space being used as long-term storage for cars.”

Long-Term Parking at Airport Completely Full Over Easter

The long-term parking lots at the Keflavík Airport are at full capacity for the third Easter holiday in a row. RÚV reports that the airport’s long-term parking lots closed just before 5:00 PM on Wednesday afternoon because all of the 2,600 on-site parking spaces had been filled.

The Easter holiday is a very popular time for Icelanders to travel, both within the country and abroad. Isavia’s service manager, Gunnar Ingi Hafsteinsson, said that travelers are advised to book their long-term parking spots in advance of popular travel weekends. As of lunch time on Wednesday, 95% of the long-term lot was full. By comparison, on a normal day, only 50 – 60% of the airport’s long-term parking lot is booked.

At least two other companies offer their own valet service and offsite parking options close to the airport. However, it looks as though these companies also have fully booked up during the holiday season. For instance, Smart Parking, which has 400 parking spots, reported that its lot was fully booked until April 22. And as of Wednesday afternoon, it also looked likely that Base Parking, which has nearly 1,000 parking spots, would also fill to capacity this weekend.

Parking Spot Security Camera Deemed Not to Violate Privacy

The Icelandic Data Protection Authority has ruled that a resident did not violate the privacy of other people by setting up a security camera in their apartment window to monitor their private parking spot, RÚV reports. The security camera sent real-time images to the resident’s phone, but did not take pictures or videos and is not being disseminated. Therefore, says the Protection Authority, no privacy violation has taken place.

A complaint about the resident’s security camera was made by one of his neighbors, who complained about photos being taken of her and her partner. The resident contended that the reason he had the camera was because his neighbor’s partner owned a large Jeep with 44 in. tires and would park it such that he was basically unable to use his own parking spot. The resident also asserted that the partner tended to leave his Jeep running, which was both loud and created a great deal of pollution. The resident said they’d complained to the police about this behavior on numerous occasions, but nothing had come of it.

The complainants claimed that the resident had taken numerous phone pictures of them, followed them around the parking lot, and recorded the couple from the laundry room window. They also said that the security camera’s field of vision would necessarily extend beyond just the private parking spot of the resident.

In making their judgement, the Protection Authority did not find it necessary to gain access to the recording resident’s home. It said that there was no evidence that the neighbor and her partner’s personal information had been used for anything other than “personal use” and said that the security camera was not being used for electronic monitoring.

The compliant was, therefore, dismissed, but the complainants were advised that they could submit another complaint in the future if they had any further information related to a possible privacy violation.