In this week’s FTN we highlighted a story from the Muğla Metropolitan Municipality’s website and all the local media, in which Fethiye motorists were told that from 29th April 2016 there would no longer be charges for street parking, although car parks would still charge.
Furthermore, they said that should anyone be charged they should call the police. Since then parking attendants have been seen but on Tuesday afternoon they all apparently disappeared. We have been contacted by several of our readers, who want to know what’s going on, so we enquired of the authorities and were given the following information:
Why charge for parking in the first place?
Fethiye Municipality started charging for street parking a while back, using the money raised to assist Fethiyespor, the local football club.
It was also thought at the time to be a good way of regulating the rather chaotic parking and of course, provided much needed year round employment for the attendants.
Suddenly parking is free!
On 29th April car, however, parking charges were suddenly dropped, even though some parking attendants have been seen since then, according to various motorists parking in the town centre.
One Fethiye Times reader was very confused by what was happening. This is the message we received from AT:
I was in Fethiye today and got a ticket when I parked on Çarşı Caddesi; however, when I came to pay there were no parking attendants to be seen, despite driving around the block a few times… So I left town without paying. What’s happening?
Why stop charging?
Several readers had told us that although they we not expecting a ticket, when they got one they were happy to pay but in fact Muğla Metropolitan Municipality have made it very clear that charging for parking is not allowed:
Muğla Metropolitan Municipality has put parking lots on the road into the free usage of citizens in its area of responsibility and authority, in Fethiye district since making a new regulation in line with Law no: 5216 and 6321.
Parking lots on the road have been put into the free usage in Fethiye since 29 April 2016, the citizens should report law-enforcement officers in accordance with Law no: 6321 in case of any demand of price.”
We have been told by the authorities that this is to bring Fethiye and the Muğla Metropolitan Municipalities in line with national policy: only Metropolitan Municipalities are allowed to charge for parking. Indeed, there has been a court case as a result of the delay in this law being implemented in Fethiye. Recently, the Ministry of SAYIŞTAY (The Turkish Court of Accounts) took Muğla Metropolitan Municipality to court for not complying with the law, and won their case.
Despite this law, Fethiye Belediye issued a contract last year, as they have done for several years now, ensuring that the money paid by car owners parking in the town helps to fund Fethiyespor Football Club.
The only thing to do, it seems, was to cancel this contract. And this is what was done. This is why the charges have been dropped.
Even so, it was due to go out to tender on 5th May, anyway, although it is likely that, if Fethiye Municipality had still been in charge, the contract would once again have been issued to the club.
What will happen?
At the moment nobody we spoke to knows what will happen for sure.
If there is a contract auction on May 5th, or at any time in the future, this time organised by Muğla, the contract may be awarded to Fethiyespor. But it may not.
Another of our regular readers SR told us:
I don’t mind paying at all as system not only provides employment for a team of helpful men (and women? I’m sure I used to see women parking attendants), who issued tickets, took a modest fee and helped drivers back out into the busy traffic. Sadly, it looks like this could become a thing of the past or be reinvented when and if a tender goes out for a new contract. Meanwhile, there will no doubt be parking chaos in Fethiye town centre unless the police step in to regulates parking.”
Today we drove through Fethiye in the afternoon and early evening. The town looked very calm and there was certainly no sign of chaos or double parking, as our reader had feared. And bearing in mind we did this on a Tuesday, which is market day, and the busiest day of the week, this looks like good news for the town.
What are your experiences of parking in Fethiye since this law has been brought into force?