Making payments

Massive price differences in resident parking permits

ANALYSIS
| By Leo Hug |
Source: iStock / Oleksandr Filon

Comparis scrutinized the prices of residential parking permits in the 40 biggest Swiss towns and cities and discovered that they differ enormously. The cost varies from 8 to 1,080 francs.

If you live in a city and have a car, you will be well aware that it’s difficult to find somewhere to park and rents are high. Swiss cities therefore offer long-term parking permits for residents. However, this analysis by Comparis shows that the prices vary immensely from place to place. For example, residents of Riehen (BS) pay just 8 francs for an annual parking permit, while in Wetzikon (ZH) the same type of permit costs 1,080 francs. Elsewhere, the 1,000-franc parking permit in Rapperswil (ZH) can only be used in certain car parks, while Baar (AG) offers no residential parking permits at all.

Lower prices in French-speaking Switzerland

The western cantons are more generous towards residents who do not have their own parking space. In the canton of Geneva, towns and cities charge 200 francs for an annual parking permit. In 2011, voters in La Chaux-de-Fonds decided by a large majority that parking should be free for residents, apart from an administration free of 20 francs. However, our table shows that long-term parking permits are also inexpensive in the cantons of Bern and Basel-Stadt. In fact, Riehen (BS) leads the way when it comes to cheap parking, charging just 8 francs per year.

Town/city Price of annual parking permit
Baar ZG
No long-term parking permit
Wetzikon ZH
CHF 1,080
Rapperswil-Jona SG
CHF 1,000
Wädenswil ZH*
CHF 720
Winterthur ZH
CHF 710
Lucerne
CHF 600
Chur GR**
CHF 600
Kriens LU
CHF 600
Wil SG
CHF 600
Uster ZH***
CHF 540
Lausanne VD
CHF 500
Dübendorf ZH
CHF 500
Lugano TI
CHF 480
Dietikon ZH
CHF 480
Kreuzlingen TG
CHF 420
Schaffhausen
CHF 420
Fribourg
CHF 396
St. Gallen
CHF 360
Köniz BE
CHF 360
Zug
CHF 360
Frauenfeld TG
CHF 360
Renens VD
CHF 360
Emmen LU
CHF 350
Biel/Bienne BE
CHF 330
Zurich
CHF 300
Sion VS
CHF 300
Bulle FR
CHF 300
Basel
CHF 284
Yverdon-les-Bains VD
CHF 270
Bern
CHF 264
Thun BE
CHF 220
Geneva
CHF 200
Vernier GE
CHF 200
Lancy GE
CHF 200
Meyrin GE
CHF 200
Carouge GE
CHF 200
Montreux VD
CHF 170
Neuchâtel NE
CHF 110
La Chaux-de-Fonds NE
CHF 20
Riehen BS
CHF 8

* Without a public transport pass, the cheapest option for residents of Wädenswil is the Glärnisch car park, for which a permit costs 864 francs. 
** Only on the outskirts at Obere Au
*** As well as 60 francs per year for daytime parking, an additional charge of 40 francs per month for overnight parking applies.

High taxes – lower charges

Comparis governmental fees expert Leo Hug accounts for these – often hefty – price differences as follows: “The way long-term parking charges are handled has more to do with tax than linguistic region.” For example, the cantons of Bern and Basel, along with the cantons in French-speaking Switzerland, are high-tax areas. This is no coincidence, believes Hug: “In high-tax areas, citizens are less amenable to paying out more in additional charges.”

Prices increases under consideration

“In the region of Zurich and in central and eastern Switzerland, there is a trend towards higher prices or restrictions on the issuing of long-term parking permits,” says the Comparis expert. For example, in July, Zurich City Council submitted an ordinance (in German only) to its parliament proposing to increase the price of an annual parking permit from 300 francs to 780 francs. Wetzikon, too, is about to overhaul its system for parking management and is therefore not currently selling any annual parking permits. From 2021, the City Council of Lucerne plans to issue parking permits only to those residents who can prove that there are no parking spaces available in their residential complex.