It can cost up to $7.60 to park on the street in Sydney. That’s relatively cheap compared to going to the beach. It’s $9 per hour at Balmoral Beach in summer or $10 per hour ($15 in a car park) at Manly Beach. Is Sydney’s parking the most expensive in the world?
How does Sydney compare with the world?
Parkopedia 2019 Global Parking Index found Australia was the costliest country for short-term, 2-hour off-street parking.
Now a Picodi study finds it costs $7.60 an hour for roadside parking in Sydney. This compares with:
- New York at $6.30, Paris at $9.50 and Amsterdam at $11.90 per hour
- Greater London, which costs the most at $15.70 an hour
- Armenians, who pay a mere 29 cents an hour
- Wollongong and Newcastle, which charge 80 to 83 cents an hour.
Even residents don’t get away with free parking. Stockholm residents pay up to $2,075 a year to park, compared with Sydney residents who can buy a permit for up to $82. Byron Bay residents pay $55 for the privilege of parking in their own small town.
How does Sydney compare with US cities?
A 2021 NRMA report compared parking in Sydney with parking in five similar US cities: Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. It found Sydney had the least parking spaces per employee and its median daily parking rate was the highest.
Central Sydney workers probably already know how hard it is to park. There are only 142 spaces for every 1,000 of them so only 1 in 7 will get a park.
For every 1,000 employees:
- San Francisco has 180 spaces – 1 in 6 chance
- Philadelphia has 217 – 1 in 5 chance
- Boston has 255 spaces – 1 in 4 chance
- Seattle has 380 – 1 in 3 chance
- San Diego has 542 – 1 in 2 chance of parking.
Meanwhile, Sydney has the highest median daily parking rate of $US46, around double three of the US cities:
- Boston $US33.71
- San Fran $US27.06
- Philadelphia $US24.90
- Seattle $US23.16
- San Diego $US19.95
This might explain why 61% of employees in the Sydney CBD use public transport, compared to 37% in Boston and San Francisco. San Diego workers were the least likely to use public transport – and they had the most spaces.
Why there’s a shortage of parking in Sydney
In the Sydney LGA there are only 1.75 spaces for each registered vehicle, compared to three spaces per vehicle in the rest of Sydney.
It’s mainly because City of Sydney wants to reduce congestion and parking for most of us and promote parking for business. It plans to:
- Reduce new parking spaces by half by 2030
- Prioritise on-street parking for delivery vehicles, taxis and disabled (already half of on-street spaces are loading zones at certain times)
- Encourage 30% of city residents to be members of a car share scheme.
Meanwhile, the NSW government parking space levy makes each spot valuable. It costs $2,540 per year (nearly $7 per day) to own an off-street space in the CBD and North Sydney.
Is parking just a waste of time?
We waste 14 hours per year just looking for somewhere to park.
As more people with more and bigger vehicles chase fewer spaces, parking in Sydney can only get harder – and more expensive.
What else could we be doing instead?