Huge hike in Northern Ireland parking charges
Northern Ireland's beleaguered motorists have been dealt another blow with rises in car parking charges.
Drivers already reeling from soaring insurance and fuel costs will now have to find an extra 40p per hour just to park on the streets of Belfast.
It means that motorists opting to park on most streets in Belfast must now pay £1.20 instead of £1 for 60 minutes - an increase of 20%.
Almost all the car parks operated by the Roads Service, meanwhile, will be charging an extra 10p per hour.
Leaving your vehicle in a typical DRD car park will set you back a further 17%, as tariffs go up from 60p to 70p per hour.
The new charges took effect in Belfast on Monday, but will affect the rest of the province over the next four weeks.
Only six of the province's 132 government-run car parks will be unaffected by the hikes, while all of Belfast will have its on-street parking charges increased.
It's the first increase of its kind in seven years.
Glyn Roberts from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Traders Association (NIIRTA), said the move was concerning.
"We weren't aware of the extent of the hikes, which sound a bit excessive," Mr Roberts said.
"However, our main concern is to ensure that on-street parking charges will not be introduced in another 30 town centres across the province."
A DRD spokeswoman said that legislation for the increases had been approved approved by the Assembly in March of this year.
The price of on-street and off-street car-parking increased on Monday, August 15. Legislation for the hikes was approved by the Assembly in March. Off-street charges have gone up by 10p per hour, or 17%, from 60p to 70p in a typical DRD car park. On-street tariffs have soared by 20p an hour, or 20%, from £1 to £1.20 on some streets.