The AA says that if Auckland Transport (AT) wants to reduce the number of private cars commuting to Auckland's CBD, the focus needs to go on making public transport a more realistic option, not raising parking charges.
Auckland Transport today announced that Early Bird parking (priced at $13) would be removed from Auckland Council-owned parking buildings from 1 December 2014, and replaced by an all-day rate of $17. Prices for leased parking spaces would also be raised.
"For a lot of people, this change will be a kick in the teeth," says AA spokesman Barney Irvine.
"Most Auckland AA Members who drive to work in the CBD do so out of necessity. Nearly half use their cars for work during the day, and many others live a long way from the public transport network or have household responsibilities that just don't fit with taking the bus or the train."
Public transport in Auckland had come a long way but was still not a viable alternative for many people, said Mr Irvine.
A recent AA survey showed that more than two-thirds of Auckland AA Members opposed an increase to parking charges to encourage greater public transport use.
Changing commuter behaviour would require positive incentives rather than punishing motorists.
"That means delivering real improvements in terms of frequency and quality of public transport, and doing more to find out what factors other than price might encourage people to change how they travel to work," Mr Irvine said.
In any case, the proposed changes would do little to ease congestion.
"AT only controls about 16% of the off-street parking market, and only around half of that is long-stay," he said. "So all this is going to do is hurt a small group of motorists financially, and open the door to private providers jacking up their prices."