Bendigo CBD traders are concerned the rise in parking fines will be detrimental to shoppers.
Parking fines in Greater Bendigo have jumped up to $83 - a $28 increase on the previous financial year.
The increased penalty for those who fail to pay for a parking ticket, or overstay the allotted time, was part of the city's budget for the 2019-20 financial year.
Bendigo Camera House owner Matt Hourigan said he hoped the effect on shoppers would be minimal.
"Most shoppers are aware of their time limits and need to move on," he said.
"If they have been copping it, then they will now cop it harder."
AsianFoods Emporium owner Jared Marwood said he was worried for his customers.
"(Many of) my Asian customers don't know how to read the parking signs or use a parking meter," he said. "They often have someone sit in the car while they come in.
"Businesses also struggle with the financial strain. We have no rear access and have to park out the front to unload. I have gone in to help a customer (while unloading) and come out to a parking inspector."
Mayor Margaret O'Rourke said when the budget was proposed increasing parking fines to half a penalty unit would bring the city in line with many other comparable regional shires.
Penalty units are valued at $165.22 this financial year, as determined by the Department of Treasury and Finance.
"We hope the new increase could help to change the behaviour of drivers who do not abide by parking rules," Cr O'Rourke said. "If drivers follow the parking rules, they won't get a fine and it will free up more parking spaces for everyone else."
Though parking penalties increased, the cost of parking was to remain the same.
Mr Hourigan and Mr Marwood both suggested the idea of introducing free parking in the CBD.
"(Parking fees) is a tax to shoppers pay to use CBD businesses," Mr Hourigan said. "Parking fines should stay, but have (free parking and time limits, enforce them to keep people moving but don't charge people to do business in the CBD."
Mr Marwood said there were often vacant car parks in the CBD.
"People park and shop at the Marketplace because it's free," he said. "Keep the fines but bring in free parking (with time limits)."
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