After a two-year suspension, the province is bringing back hospital pay parking starting March 4, blaming non-hospital users for taking advantage of the pandemic initiative, introduced in the spring of 2020.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the courtesy was effective and appreciated but cited “non-hospital users” for taking advantage of the freebie “while conducting business that’s not hospital related.”
“These hospital parking spots must be available for those who need them most,” Dix said Thursday.
“The challenge over time as we’ve come back to full utilization is that people can’t find a parking space often at many of our hospitals,” said Dix.
Parking fees were suspended April 1, 2020, on the heels of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, to reduce risk of possible transmission from touching screens and buttons at payment kiosks and to avoid crowding in kiosk lines. The Provincial Health Services Authority at the same time temporarily suspended payroll deductions for parking fees.
The B.C. government said just over $78 million in parking fees have been waived since April 1, 2020. The parking rates, frozen for four years, will go unchanged.
Parking fees are being re-introduced to ensure parking spots are available for patients, staff, and volunteers, said Dix, noting he received “hundreds” of complaints from people who were not being able to find a spot.
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