Vancouver businesses want TransLink to put the brake on its recent tripling of the tax on parking lots in Metro Vancouver.
The increase took effect Jan. 1 and raises the tax for off-street paid parking to 21 per cent, an increase of 14 per cent.
“We’re in an economic recovery here,” said Charles Gauthier, executive director of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. “This is just absurd. It’s exorbitant.”
On Thursday, a group of 30 businesses and organizations, including the DVBIA, launched Drive Out the Tax, a one-week public education campaign.
It includes flyers tucked under windshield wipers, which feature a phone number to connect people to their city’s mayor.
The increase doesn’t only affect businesses, Gauthier added, but all off-street paid parking, including students at universities and people visiting family in hospitals.
TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie called the criticism unfair.
“Where were they a year ago, when we were talking about this?” he asked.
“We laid out the options for generating revenue … and by and large, the (parking increase) was near the top of what people wanted us to do.”
The increase is part of TransLink’s $130-million supplement transportation plan that was approved in October by a council of regional mayors.
It also includes a three-cent increase in TransLink’s regional fuel taxes (to 15 cents per litre), which also took effect Jan. 1, and increases in the price of FareSaver tickets and monthly passes, which will take effect in April.