Expats Face Congestion Charge On The Costa Del Sol. Expats and tourists will have to pay €20 a day to take a car into a congestion zone.
Expats Face Congestion Charge On The Costa Del Sol
Car hire companies and expat residents are up in arms today following the shock announcement that the Costa Del Sol is to introduce congestion charging within it’s major towns. In a move which mirrors London, drivers wishing to take their vehicles inside the designated congestion zones will have to pay a daily charge of €20.
The scheme will be trialled from the 1st of December in Fuengirola, before being rolled out across all the major towns on the Costa Del Sol. Car hire companies are very much against the new scheme, Pablo El Coche from Cars Representation Andalucia Protests says “This just can’t work, they don’t know what they’re doing, it’s a rip off. It will be complete chaos”
The government have tried to calm Spanish workers who say they will not be able to afford to travel to work. Alberto Embrague said “We are not going to be charging Spanish people to travel into the congestion zones. Cars registered to hire companies used by visitors and cars registered to foreign residents are the only ones who will have to pay the fines, I mean charges. It’s about taking back control, and saving the environment”.
Racism In Spain
Expats on the Costa Del Sol are now accusing the goverment of racism and discrimination. Adam Flaps lives in Fuengirola and says “This is racism, pure and simple. They are saying that if you want to visit a town and you’re not Spanish you’re going to have to pay, one way or another. Pay the congestion charge or pay for busses or trains or taxis or something like that”.
Payment machines are going to be installed at inconvenient points in town centres, and drivers will also be able to pay online if they can navigate a complicated and illogical web payment system. Failure to make payment within 12 hours of entering the congestion zone will result in the vehicle being seized and fines of up to €18000.
Some drivers will be exempt from the new congestion charge. These include drivers of top end vehicles including Ferraris and Bentleys. Non-Spanish community presidents will also be exempt from the congestion charge. Enrique Palanca De Cambios from Marbella County Council said “We want to encourage people with nice cars to visit our town centres, regardless of where they are from”.
Fuengirola County Council say they are delighted to be the first town to introduce congestion charging. Javier Espejo is the chairman of the Congestion Charging In Andalucia committee and says “This is all about the environment. By reducing the number of cars in the town centre, we will cut back on pollution and make life much better for pedestrians who like to walk in the roads as if there are no cars on them anyway. Any money raised from the scheme will be ploughed straight back into the roads, after we have taken out our expenses and costs and things. The scheme is so popular in London that we’re sure it will be a hit here too. If it goes well we could extend the congestion zones to include push bikes and pedestrians as well”.
Louise Hamilton lives in Marbella and travels to Malaga every day to work. She said “Looking at this map, I have no choice but to pay to get to work. I either pay to use the A7 through Fuengirola, or pay to use the AP7 round Fuengirola. It’s a disgrace. My husband is on the committee at our darts club, we should be treated better than this.”
Nigel Mainsell, originally from Birmingham, is on holiday here with his wife and children. He told us “I’m not from Birmingham actually, I’m from Coal Aston. There’s no way we’re coming back here if we have to pay everytime we bring our hire car into the town. It’s outrageous. These foreigners don’t know how to look after us Brits. We’ll look at going somewhere that doesn’t do this next year, maybe Southend or Cleethorpes”.
How do you feel about this new congestion charge? Have your say in the comments box below!
Written by Murray Walker, Costa Del Sol Update. 24.10.2017