Parking rates at hospitals set to fall on April 1

Some welcome news for those who've been fuming about sky-high hospital parking rates.

Starting on April 1, you'll be able to park for free for the first 30 minutes at Quebec's hospitals, instead of paying $10 for the first half hour.

There would also be reductions for daily, weekly and monthly parking permits, as well as lower rates for the elderly, low-income people, and those who need to go to the hospital regularly.

Currently, if you're there for an hour and a half or longer, the fee is $25 — the same as for a full day. At the MUHC's Glen hospital, for instance, the unpopular fee has been in place since the hospital opened in 2015.

For the moment, it isn't clear exactly how steep the reductions would be at each hospital.

The new directives come from the province's health ministry, according to the city of Montreal's point man on infrastructure, Lionel Perez. The city councillor for the Darlington district has Cote-des-Neiges-NDG been lobbying for lower parking rates for years — not only because they're considered prohibitive, but because they also put pressure on streets surrounding hospitals, as motorists look for parking spots off-site.

Rate policies, Perez says, haven't changed in a decade — while the MUHC and CHUM superhospitals were still in the planning stages.