Series of on-street zones and cut in building tariffs but evening CBD charges to kick in.

Auckland Transport has backed down from lifting central city charges for short-stay street parking - and will cut hourly fees in its four downtown parking buildings.

It decided yesterday to introduce three new on-street parking zones for downtown Auckland, with fees ranging from $4 for each of the first two hours for inner city streets to $3 for a middle zone and $2 for outer areas such as around Wynyard Quarter and Quay Park.

But the hourly rate will double for longer stays in all except the outer areas, in return for lifting existing time restrictions.

The general hourly rate for inner-city streets is now $4, with a maximum stay of two hours.


Evening parking will be charged for the first time in the central zone, from 6pm to 10pm, although at half the daily rate at $2 an hour.

The new schedule to be introduced around the middle of next month follows considerable opposition from the Automobile Association and others to an earlier proposal which drew 718 submissions.

That involved a central zone parking fee of $5 for the first hour, and $8 for every extra hour, and a graduating charge starting at $3 in a second zone.

Although Auckland Transport insisted its goal was a fairer allocation of scarce parking spaces rather than extra revenue, its annual budget revealed it expected to raise an extra $4.5 million a year from the earlier scheme.

Communications manager Sharon Hunter said last night that the modified scheme, adopted in a secret session yesterday afternoon by the council organisation's board, would be "revenue neutral".

It won immediate support from Heart of the City business association chief Alex Swney, who was particularly happy about a plan to reduce fees in Auckland Transport's off-street parking buildings to a flat $3 an hour, to a maximum of $17 a day. That compares with rates now starting at $5.50 an hour, to a ceiling of $29.

Although "earlybird" parking will remain at $13 a day for now, Ms Hunter indicated that arrival times may be reviewed to make way for more shoppers and other short-term users.

Mr Swney said the lower rates in the parking buildings should improve the availability of street spaces, where Auckland Transport will introduce 10-minute free periods to allow quick pick-ups and drop-offs.

He said the scheme would provide better co-ordination between downtown Auckland's 2800 street car parks and the council-owned buildings, in which there are 4290 spaces, to match the needs of his organisation's customers.

Auckland Transport chief operating officer Greg Edmonds said that as the region's population continued to grow, it was committed to providing convenient parks as part of a wider transport mix.