Parking in Madrid twice as expensive if air pollution is too high

by Lorraine Williamson
Madrid parking prices

MADRID – Madrid is making a rigorous change in parking feesWith the dynamic rates, parking has become 60-100% more expensive as of January 26. Only the most economical cars benefit from a reduction or even free parking in the Spanish capital. 

From Wednesday 26 January, the municipality of Madrid will apply a new rate for the SER parking service (Servicio de Estacionamiento Regulado). Moreover, this concerns parking in green and blue parking spaces. These rates are called dynamic. And this makes parking in the Spanish capital between 60%-100% more expensive compared to the rate that was used previously. 

Increase in parking fee depends on NO2 concentration 

This regulation is part of the ‘Madrid 360’ sustainability strategy to reduce the emission of polluting substances in the city. Therefore, how much the rate goes up depends on the average level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration in the city. In short, the tariff becomes more expensive the higher the NO2 concentration. 

How is the increase in the parking rate determined? 

In practice, it works that the nitrogen concentration I measured the day before between midnight and 11.00 pm at various places in Madrid. Therefore, if the concentration is between 60-70 micrograms of NO2/m³, a parking fee of 60% will follow on top of the current rate the next day. Consequently, when the metre indicates more than 70 micrograms of NO2/m³ is measured, the rate is increased by 100%. 

Via this link, it is possible to view the NO2 emissions for each area in Madrid at any time of the day. The surcharges only apply during the opening hours of the SER service, namely on working days from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm and from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm on Saturdays. The surcharges do not apply on Sundays and public holidays. 

Madrid City Council encourages sustainable cars 

This new regulation does not apply to the most fuel-efficient cars. For example, parking for cars with a 0 vignette (electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen) remains free and vehicles with an ECO vignette (hybrid, CNG, or LPG) receive a reduction of the rate between 50% and 75%. The city of Madrid previously imposed traffic restrictions: For example, the centre is only accessible to residents. Non-residents are only allowed in if they have the correct ecovignette. 

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