Dozens of local shopkeepers and workers at Avenida da Liberdade in Albufeira are fuming over the legions of parking meters that started filling their busy street last year.
Implemented by Círculo Digital SA, the paid-parking restrictions have begun to take their toll on businesses and traders’ incomes. They are also hitting workers where it hurts.
The Algarve Resident was called in by a local tradesperson who decided it was time to act.
Preferring to remain anonymous, the shopkeeper explained that €1 is charged for every hour that a car is parked on Avenida da Liberdade. But the problem is that nearby alternatives are virtually nonexistent and local traders and workers face little choice but to park their cars in the paid-parking areas.
“Many business owners and workers park their cars on the Avenida,” we were told, but “they cannot afford the amounts that are asked”, which leads to multiple fines that become “unbearable”. The fact that each fine costs €10 and that the surveillance is tight leaves little room for evading costs.
The Algarve Resident met with local traders earlier this week who said: “Nobody is happy with this situation.”
“How could anyone be happy with this?” queried the owner of Cila Milan Fashion.
Moor e Moor Cosmetics echoed their “total dissatisfaction” – and every trader told the tale of one Maria José who has managed to accrue over €50-worth of unpaid fines.
Working for more than 30 years through the various morphs of the local Alisuper supermarket, Maria José explained why she cannot afford to pay the amount the company in charge of the parking is demanding: “I sometimes work over 12 or 14 hours a day. That comes out to €12 to €14 a day just for parking!”
Maria José stressed that she lives in Paderne and has no choice but to drive to work, and that there are no nearby alternatives for parking. “I am not going to walk over a kilometre at late hours of the night, through unsafe areas, because they charge outrageous amounts for parking,” she said.
The Algarve Resident contacted both Círculo Digital, as well as the municipal authority of Albufeira, on multiple occasions throughout the week but neither organisation provided a comment.
By Michael Bruxo [email protected]