The next generation of car park technology, testing in the Netherlands, will charge cars depending on their size. Fees are already shockingly expensive.
Underground and multi-story car parking in the Netherlands is generally high quality – safe, secure, well lit and well organised. Even heated and/or air conditioned.
But it can be very expensive, in Amsterdam particularly, while the ante is being upped on a regular basis.
IT specialist TKH Group from Enschede starts trials this year of new system using Number Plate Recognition Cameras (NPR) to charge cars according to their size.
Bosses say the new tech will be widely available within three years. Similar systems are already proven in America.
There is no word yet on how the system will cope with foreign registered vehicles.
Meanwhile a survey by a Dutch retail association found average parking fees across the country, already expensive even by UK standards, rose by 9% last year.
Charges at The Plaza garage in Rotterdam doubled to a maximum daily rate of €27.
That is good value compared to Amsterdam. Last September we paid €45 per day at Geelvinck Parking in the city centre. The same ticket is now €48.
Monthly parking fees during office hours in central Amsterdam can reach €700. Permanent parking in the central ring is now nearly €1000 per month.
Q-Park in The Hague has installed the first fast charger for electric vehicles in a car park in Holland (possibly Europe). Via the charger, EVs can get 80% of their full charge in 15-30 minutes. Nissan Leaf owners can charge for free until May.
Average speed traps caught twice the number of motorists in 2012 as 2011, nearly 15% of all violations: 1.4m out of 9.6m fines in total. The main culprits were the north-south A2/E35 Amsterdam-Maastricht between Holendrecht and Maarssen south of the capital, and the A12/E25 near Utrecht. The overall number of traffic fines however fell. In January reports said traffic officers were reluctant to impose fines they thought too high.