Off-street and on-street parking

There are a range of options when parking in town and cities, including on-street parking and off-street car parks. Car parks previously managed by the Department for Infrastructure are now run by local councils. NSL Services Group traffic attendants still patrol the car parks and issue Penalty Charge Notices (parking tickets) to illegally-parked vehicles.

Please note: the old £1 coin is no longer accepted in parking machines within the Department for Infrastructure’s three Controlled Parking Zones, its three charged park and ride car parks, or within council off-street car parks

Off-street car parking

In car parks where charges apply, it is local councils' responsibility for setting tariffs, lighting and their upkeep.

This could mean that previous car park charges no longer apply. You should note local car park signage and local council websites.

Motorcycles are permitted to park free of charge in all car parks; however they must be parked wholly within a bay where such is marked out. Trailers are not permitted in car parks.

On-street car parking

While the majority of on-street parking in Northern Ireland is free, there are three Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) where on-street charges apply. They are:

  • Belfast (approximately 1,660 on-street parking spaces)
  • Lisburn (approximately 240 on-street parking spaces)
  • Newry (approximately 440 on-street parking spaces)

You can find the on-street tariffs on the page below:

Whether using pay and display machines in a charged car park or CPZ, you must ensure that the ticket you buy is sufficient for the length of your stay. Display the ticket clearly on your car windscreen or dashboard.

You will need to have change for the ticket machines (see also cashless parking) - these take any sterling coins from five pence to two pounds (they do not accept copper coins). However, the machines can only accept a maximum of 25 coins for each transaction.

Additionally, pay and display machines in most border towns accept Euro coins.

Motorcyclists are also expected to pay and display in CPZs and must, therefore, consider how best to display their ticket clearly whilst safeguarding it at the same time. Many motorcycle online forums provide advice and recommendations on how to achieve this. 

Motorcyclists may, however, wish to use the cashless parking option which removes this concern.

Cashless parking

The Parkmobile Cashless Payment System is now available in all pay and display off-street car parks and on-street charged car parking locations in Northern Ireland.

This system provides an alternative method of paying for your parking other than using coins at the pay and display machines.

You will need to register your vehicle and method of payment details with Parkmobile. Once registered, you can pay for and manage your parking using your mobile phone, mobile app or online.

You do not have to estimate your parking time, as you control when you start and stop your parking. However, there may be restrictions on the length of time you are permitted to park - see local signage for details.

There is no need to show a pay and display ticket on your vehicle, as Traffic Attendants can check if parking has been paid using Parkmobile.

You should note that there will be a 15p transaction charge per parking event, along with the normal parking tariffs (see machine for details).

Details of how the service operates is provided on the pay and display machines at each location.

Paying for parking using mobile phone

Pay for your parking using your mobile phone in three easy steps:

  • to start your parking event, call 028 9575 7988 (local call rate charges apply)
  • listen carefully to all the instructions
  • enter the location code (this is on the nearest parking ticket machine)
  • to stop parking, call the above number again
  • if there is a fault with the Parkmobile phone line or app, please report this to the enquiry/ fault phone number 0845 603 9337 (this is displayed on each pay and display ticket machine)

It's important to note that:

  • if you don't stop your parking event, charges will apply up to the maximum parking period (see local signage for information)
  • traffic attendants can check if you have a valid parking event
  • a parking ticket (Penalty Charge Notice) may be issued for failure to comply with parking restrictions

 For more information on cashless parking, please visit the Parkmobile website:

Car parking charges off-street and on-street (non-charging days)

Parking charges normally apply in all off-street and on-street controlled parking zones (Belfast, Lisburn and Newry):

  • from Monday to Saturday
  • on Sundays in November and December in all Londonderry charged car parks and in the Mall and Abbey Street car parks in Coleraine (except on 1 January, Easter Monday, 12 and 13 July and 25 and 26 December or days in lieu, when there is no charge)

The only exception is Ballymena Town Centre Multi-Storey car park, which operates in conjunction with the opening hours of the Tower Centre and charges may apply on some of these dates.

See below for details of non-charging days for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Year Non-charging dates
2017 Monday 2 January
Monday 17 April
Wednesday 12 July
Thursday 13 July
Monday 25 December
Tuesday 26 December
2018 Monday 1 January
Monday 2 April
Thursday 12 July
Friday 13 July
Tuesday 25 December
Wednesday 26 December
2019 Tuesday 1 January
Monday 22 April
Friday 12 July
Saturday 13 July
Wednesday 25 December
Thursday 26 December

Please note that although parking charges do not apply on these dates, all other parking restrictions remain enforceable.

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