Commuter parking in Sydney improving but more needed: NRMA Report

Car park parking lot
Car park parking lot

The number of commuter parking spaces available in Sydney has increased by almost 13 per cent over six years, however more spaces are needed if Sydney is to be on par with similar cities like Seattle, Boston and San Francisco, according to a report by the NRMA.

The NRMA’s international comparison report, Parking in the Sydney CBD, compared Sydney’s commuter parking spaces across its public transport network to five similar cities in the United States – Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and Philadelphia.

The report found Sydney has approximately 42,800 commuter parking spaces across the network – up from 37,990 when the NRMA last conducted the report six years ago. The increase includes almost 4,200 spaces built at six Metro North-West stations.

Sydney now has 8.9 commuter parking spaces per 1,000 people. The city lags Boston (11.2), Seattle (10.7) and San Francisco (9.9). The city’s commuter parking spaces per 1,000 people exceeds Philadelphia (5.4) and San Diego (4.7).

The importance of commuter parking in Sydney was also highlighted by the fact that the city’s CBD workers overwhelmingly (61%) relied on public transport to get to work. This contrasts to Boston and San Francisco (37%) and San Diego (4%).

In 2008 the NRMA launched an extensive campaign to improve commuter parking in Sydney as a way to encourage more people to use public transport, reduce congestion and improve air quality. Since that campaign began tens-of-thousands of additional spaces have been built across the state.

The NRMA is also working with the NSW Government to introduce real-time parking reforms across the state, to make it easier for people to find and pay for accessible and affordable parking through applications like the my nrma app, including commuter parking near public transport hubs. 

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said with the state likely to lift COVID lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks, workers would again return to using public transport and providing adequate commuter parking was vital to making public transport a more reliable option for the community.

“This NRMA report clearly demonstrates that Sydneysiders are big users of public transport - we want to encourage that behaviour post-COVID and a big part of that strategy must be to ensure there is enough commuter parking,” Mr Khoury said.

“Since the NRMA first turned its attention to the issue of commuter parking in 2008 we have seen successive state governments deliver a consistent and vital increase in commuter parking spaces near public transport hubs - the roll-out of the North-West Metro saw almost 4,200 spaces alone.

“While we have seen promising progress there is clearly more that needs to be done and we believe a key focus should be commuter parking around the Sydney Metro stations.

“By giving people the option to use public transport for the bulk of their journey to work and home it helps significantly reduce their weekly transport costs, helps tackle Sydney’s ongoing congestion challenges and improves the city’s air quality.”

Contact: Peter Khoury