Parking in Stockholm

Hello dear readers!

Time for another update, this time on a topic that is related to my most recent achievement (getting my driver’s license) — PARKING!

One of the biggest complaints you hear from folks in Stockholm is that parking is atrocious and is incredibly expensive. This is true, but it’s all relative, right?  Folks, I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. While the suburbs in the SF Bay are parking-friendly, the streets of San Francisco proper are definitely not.

If you’re a casual driver in Stockholm, (i.e. you don’t actually own a car but you rent one from time to time) then the parking situation is actually tolerable.  You find the spot on the street you want to park in (and yes, even in places like Östermalm and Vasastan you can find spots) and you park.  Then either via the “Betala P” smartphone app or the parking kiosk (which takes credit cards), you pay for the time that you want.  Convenient and you don’t need coins or bills.

However, if you plan to buy a car, then you need to apply for something called “boendeparkering” – resident parking in English. This is something done through the Stockholm city government. The rules are quite simple:

  1. You have to be a registered resident in the area you wish to have a permit, e.g. Vasastan or Kungsholmen, AND
  2. You have to own the car in question, or
  3. You have a car you’re borrowing for up to a 90 day period, and the owner of the car has filled out a form which designates you as the person borrowing the car, you’re renting the car from a rental car company or you’re leasing the car for work.

When you fulfill the above criteria, all you have to do is log into the Stockholm city website and apply. To verify your identity, they encourage you to use BankID which is an electronic identification verification mechanism which is supported by the majority of Swedish banks.

The permit itself is free and is linked to your car’s license plate so you don’t even need to put a sticker on your BMW 5 series bumper. For every day that you wish to park in your home area, you have to pay 60 SEK. If you’d rather be able to park for the entire month, you pay in 900 SEK increments and that takes care of the next 30 days. I went with the monthly option; I suppose that most people do as well.

Getting the permit is easy, finding a spot and getting your car into it is relatively easy, but remembering to move your car before your street cleaning day is the tough part.  Each street in your area is “parking free” for a period of 6 hours (midnight to 6am) from Monday to Friday. Each street has its own schedule.  This is a pain in the ass because if you’re traveling on business, you have to remember to move the car before your trip otherwise you might end up with a nasty and expensive parking fine.

So that’s all – hope that helps 🙂  It’s really not that hard at all!

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