Zurich set to increase blue zone parking costs by 80 percent

Zurich set to increase blue zone parking costs by 80 percent

The Zurich City Council has unveiled plans to increase the cost of blue zone parking by 80 percent, in a bid to reduce the number of cars in the city. While the proposal is popular among members of the local council, the official price monitor for Switzerland and drivers have voiced strong opposition, arguing that the increase is unfair and badly timed.

Blue zone parking to be overhauled in Zurich

In a statement given to 20 Minuten, the Zurich City Council announced plans to overhaul how blue parking zones are used in the future. Today, drivers looking to park in blue-coloured spaces in Zurich - which make up the majority of spaces in the city and are designed to be used by residents and commuters - are limited to an hour if they use a free parking disk, or have to purchase a blue zone card for unlimited parking, which is available for 300 francs a year.

Now, local authorities want to overhaul who is eligible for a blue card and how much the pass costs. First, they hope to introduce a new parking card for entrepreneurs and craft, service, delivery and workshop vehicles, which will give them the right to park in blue and white spaces freely, as well as free access to no-drive, restricted and pedestrian zones - the pass will cost 1.800 francs a year.

Blue zone parking costs to increase to 500 francs a year

Second, they hope to restrict blue cards to those who don’t have the “opportunity” to use a private parking space in the city - like a car park at home or at work. Finally, they will look to raise the cost of a blue zone card from 300 to 540 francs a year, while cutting the cost for tradespeople down from 480 to 360 francs a year. This plan is a “watered down” proposal from 2020, which would have seen the cost of parking doubled, but this was withdrawn.

Speaking to 20 Minuten, Social Democratic City Councillor Anna Graff said that the main purpose of the plan is to reduce the amount of traffic in the city. She added that considering how much valuable space is devoted to parking in the city - space she argued could be better used by cyclists and pedestrians - 540 francs a year is “relatively cheap.”

Price monitor says Zurich parking policy is unfair on drivers

Others were more lukewarm to the idea: Zurich Trade Association board member Robert Eggler said that while he is happy that there will be a special pass for tradespeople “after decades” of lobbying, the cost is “beyond good and evil”. He warned that Zurich companies will likely transfer the extra cost of the new pass straight on to customers. 

Speaking to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the official price monitor for Switzerland, Stefan Meierhans, said that he would oppose the price rise. In a counteroffer, he suggested that a price cap of 400 francs a year should be imposed, which he says is more in line with parking prices in other cities and cantons.

He argued that it was “unfair” to raise prices, especially at a time when inflation appears to be slowing. “The public sector and state-related companies have a responsibility not to drive inflation unnecessarily,” he added.

Zurich to agree new blue zone rules in coming months

The Zurich City Council now has to present the proposal to the city parliament and will have to negotiate the price rise with the official price monitor. A final decision on the policy, and its cost, will be decided in the coming months.

Thumb image credit: Sorbis /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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