Parking scheme set to expand

Central Athens’s pay-and-display street parking scheme is set to expand this spring to the crowded neighborhood of Ambelokipi, where drivers will have to buy tickets to park in some 5,500 spaces, it was revealed yesterday. The scheme began just over a year ago, introducing some 5,000 monitored parking spaces in the city center, which require non-residents to pay 0.50 euros to leave their car for half an hour. Residents can buy a yearlong card for 10 euros. The pay-parking system was hailed by transport experts initially but has come in for more mixed reviews lately. There have been complaints that kiosk owners carry very few parking cards for drivers to buy and that the scheme is not being properly enforced. The municipal police deny the latter and say that its officers issue on average 700 parking tickets a day. The City of Athens has also struck a deal with a wide range of stores to stock the cards due to the dispute with kiosks owners who wanted to retain a 10 percent commission on each card they sold.