Terrace overlooking a beach in Jurmala, Source: Ivan Zanotti on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

How does Jūrmala deal with holiday traffic inflow?

How does Jūrmala deal with holiday traffic inflow?

Latvia’s most popular resort has been levying an entrance fee since 1996

Summer is officially here and the authorities of Latvia’s largest sea resort – Jūrmala – are reminding potential visitors that it also means that visiting this municipality by motorized transport would also mean paying an entrance fee.

However, as a nod to sustainability and inclusivity, electric vehicles and vehicles adapted for disabled people are exempt from paying the 2-euro daily fee.

Jūrmala stretches along the Baltic coast for 25 kilometres

This seaside municipality, a stone’s throw from the Latvian capital Riga, has been a popular summer destination since Soviet times. Featuring an almost 25-km long beach with fine sand, curative mud baths and pine forest, all bordered by a sea that is not very deep, makes the town the place to be in Latvia come summer.

That, however, also means attracting more traffic than its infrastructure can handle, creating jams and noise pollution as a result. The municipal policy since 1996 has been to charge visitor vehicles an entrance fee, and since 2017 it was decided to make it a one-day payment which also grants you free parking space, as long as it is not on a private parking lot.

The authorities remind that daily passes can also be purchased after entering the city but before leaving, which makes it easier for forgetful drivers. It is possible to use three different phone apps to purchase the pass or do it through the city’s tourist portal.

What is more, for those who know that they are forgetful, they can apply to be sent an e-mail reminder to purchase the pass. The reminder will arrive in the evening after 7 pm so that the driver would have the chance to pay before leaving and avoid getting a fine, which will amount to 50 euros.

Pass purchase control is fully automated. The video equipment records the registration number of the vehicles that have entered, and later the database checks whether the vehicle has paid the fee by 23.59 pm on the day of the visit.

The city is also now offering seasonal passes, as well registration for vehicles used by disabled people, so that they will not have to pay the entry fee. The other vehicles, which are exempt from payment are electric cars, showing a commitment on part of the authorities to encourage the switch to sustainable transportation.

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