POLICE presence on Paseo Mallorca Jaume III in Palma is set to be increased in a bid to reduce the number of illegal parking valets.
There are around 20 people, mostly Spaniards and East Europeans, who ‘help’ people park their cars and ask for a tip, police say. Vehicle owners often feel obliged to pay them for fear that their car will be damaged if they do not. This means that people are paying twice; once for parking in the blue zone and again to these illegal parking attendants.
Previously officers denounced and handed-out fines to people who carry out this practice, but it seems this was not an effective deterrent. Many of these ‘illegal parking valets’ used to work in the construction industry, finding themselves out of work when the economic crisis hit.
“I help people find a parking spot easily without obstructing traffic and then ask for a tip for my service,” said one of the parking valets who preferred to remain anonymous.
“I probably earn about €30 a day, but I never force people to pay me and I would never damage the car of someone who did not pay me. Many people keep their head down as the get out of the car and walk by me. Each time I help someone find a parking I hope they will give me a tip. I have been out of work for four years. I prefer to do this than to steal. I have to put food in my family’s mouth somehow.”
By Nicole Hallett