Hospital parking rates at all medical centres across Quebec have been dramatically reduced.
As of June 20, drivers can park for free at any medical facility in the province for the first two hours of their stay.
The price for parking between two and four hours starts at $6, depending on the region, with a maximum $10 fee for a 24-hour period.
The news came as a pleasant surprise for those who frequent the facilities.
“It was really a shock, and we are really happy,” Ali Mahboobi said.
Mahboobi and his wife spend $150 annually on trips to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) for their children’s health appointments.
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Mahboobi says the new fares are far more affordable.
Users had to pay $25 a day for parking before the cuts — a cost far too expensive for Edith Arizobel and her husband.
“It was too much for us. I’m glad,” Arizobel said of the parking fee cut.
The rate reduction has caught hospitals off guard.
Officials at MUHC say they have not yet put in place measures to reduce the risk of drivers taking advantage of the new affordable parking rates.
“We are examining which control mechanisms could be deployed to preserve access for patients and visitors and not for others who would like to profit from the lower rates,” Sandra Sciangula with MUHC’s media relations said in a statement.
In the meantime, Sciangula says the hospital is relying on the general public to keep the needs of patients and families in mind and not use the parking for purposes unrelated to hospital visits.
Slashing hospital parking rates was a 2018 election promise for the Coalition Avenir Québec.