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Switzerland - Parking

Parking your vehicle in Switzerland can be difficult and requires attention to local regulations. Due to high demand on parking spaces in cities, these tend to be zoned and require parking permits whose rules must be strictly observed. Expect to receive a fine if you do not obey parking rules in Switzerland. If you have left the country this will be forwarded on to you and will have to be paid for in Swiss francs. Parking in a space that is privately owned or blocking access should be avoided and will at the very least earn the disapproval of your neighbours and a potential confrontation with the parking space owner. Private spaces are often marked in yellow and may be marked with a large X or with a name or registration number. If parking in a white zone in Switzerland (i.e. marked with white lines) check the signposts for restrictions and parking tariffs, payable at a parking meter.

Zurich has a blue zone system which allows parking with a permit disc (Parkscheibe) which can be bought from a post office. The disc has a dial and arrow which must be used to indicate the time at which you parked, starting at the nearest number or half-number after your exact time of arrival. If you are staying all day you can save money with a day permit (Tagesbewilligun), which currently costs CHF 15 and can be bought at the Traffic Office (Dienstabteilung Verkehr), at police stations in Zurich, or online by credit card payment. If you are a resident you can apply for a residential parking permit (Anwohnerparkkarte) for the zone in which you live. This will be registered to your name and address, and will grant you unlimited parking in that zone only. At time of writing the cost of a resident parking permit in Zurich is CHF 240 per year. Contact the Traffic Office to obtain a permit. While you are waiting for a full permit you can buy a temporary permit (provisorische Parkkarte) from the Registration Office (Personenmeldeamt). This will allow you 45 days of parking. However, if you have moved to the area, within 14 days of your arrival you should visit the Zurich Road Traffic Office (Strassenverkehrsamt des Kantons Zürich) to have your vehicle registration document updated to your new address. Only then will you be able to upgrade to a permanent residential parking permit. If you are only resident during the working week you can also obtain a permit and should contact the Traffic Office to supply them with the necessary information. See the Zurich City Police website for parking permit application forms and to purchase certain permits online. There are a number of public car parks around Zurich but these can be expensive.

In Geneva you will also find zoned parking in all central districts. You may park in a blue zone for up to an hour free of charge from 08:00 to 19:00 to Monday to Saturday (longer over lunchtime) but are required to display the blue parking disc (disque de stationnement) indicating your time of arrival. After these hours you can park without the blue disc but must have left before 08:00 the next morning. In some areas you will find parking is allowed for up to 4 hours with use of the parking disc, and this will be clearly signposted as such. If you obtain a resident parking permit (macaron) you will be able to park at any time in your zone of residents without further charge. The permit costs CHF 180 per year at the current time in Geneva and you will need to complete an application form (see address below) enclosing copies of your car registration document and of your residence permit or your lease. Some parts of Geneva have metered parking and ticket machines, typically the shopping areas, close to post offices, and the financial district and city centre. The parking for shoppers and post office customers is limited to 30 minutes stay, while that for banks and the centre is limited to 90 minutes. You will also find public car parks (parking lots) with varying numbers of spaces and tariffs around the city.

Some accommodation will include an allocated parking space and this will be reflected in the rent. Another alternative is to rent a private space or a garage.

Disabled drivers have extended rights to park but should always check local regulations as these may vary. In general, you will be allowed to park in no-parking zones for up to 2 hours, and in time-limited parking zones for up to 6 hours. You can obtain a parking permit specifically for disabled persons from the local Traffic Office and should always display this alongside any other applicable permit for the zone. An EU blue badge for disabled drivers will be recognised in Switzerland, although you are advised to accompany it with a written translation explaining its use. See http://www.myhandicap.com/disabled-parking-eu.html for example text in German, French and Italian. Other disabled parking badges that have been formally recognised as entitling the bearer to reciprocal rights abroad are those of Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Japan and Korea. However, bear in mind that local police may not be accustomed to seeing these badges, and if you are staying for any length of time in Switzerland it may be worthwhile to obtain a Swiss permit. In some places you will find allocated spaces for disabled drivers and these will be marked with a wheelchair symbol.

Useful Resources

Zurich City Police: parking permit applications
Stadt Zürich Polizeidepartement, Bahnhofquai 3, Amtshaus I, CH 8001 Zürich
Tel: 044 411 71 17

Fondation des Parkings
Geneva blue zone residential parking permit information and application form
Fondation des Parkings, Carrefour de l'Etoile 1, Case Postale 1775, CH 1211 Genève 26
Tel: 022 827 44 90
Email: admin@fondation-parkings.ch

Les parkings publics en Ville de Genève: information on car parks in Geneva

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