Carpool and park for free

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Queenstown Lakes District Council is encouraging local people to carpool ahead of hefty parking fee hikes expected next month. 

A proposal scrapping free parking at Gorge Road and Recreation Ground carparks and imposing a $2.50 daily or 50 cents an hour charge was rubber-stamped by a QLDC committee on Monday. 

Ballarat Street parking fees are also set to jump from $2.50 per day to $9. 

Carpoolers, on the other hand, won’t pay a cent. 

The council plans to set aside 10 spots at each of the Ballarat St and Gorge Rd car parks for punters who carpool from more than 2km out of town on a common route and have at least three adults in a car. 

Individuals must apply for permits and at least three will require to be displayed on the dashboards of cars parking in the allocated spaces. 

The council hopes to match up wannabe carpoolers with others in their area via an already established website – yet to be chosen – accessible from the council webpages. 

The system is expected to cost the council $250 monthly. 

“What we’re trying to do in Queenstown is provide people with a number of choices on how to get around,” QLDC infrastructure strategy boss Denis Mander (pictured) says. 

Reducing the council’s $1m parking debt, pushing people to use the extended bus services launched last week and freeing up parking in the town centre for tourists are reasons cited by Denis Mander for the changes. 

The proposals are expected to be passed at a full council meeting on August 17.