Paid Parking Map ALN

IF YOU really don't want to part with $11 a day to park in the parliamentary triangle, here's a cheapskate's guide to getting a better deal.

■ Take in some culture and get rewarded with three hours free parking at the National Gallery of Australia.

The gallery says it knows public servants are using the underground car park to get to their offices and will charge people to park after July 1. There is one exception, however - for genuine art lovers.

''We intend to offer three hours of free parking in the NGA car parks for genuine visitors to the gallery who have their ticket validated in the gallery,'' a spokesman said. The car park doesn't open until 9.45am so you'll have to find somewhere else for the start of your work day.

■ Download the Parkhound app and get a deal that's slightly cheaper. The app enables you to rent car spots around Canberra, ranging from underground car parks with swipe-card entry to outdoor car parks priced between $8 and $10 a day, or as little as $2 for three hours.

There were four spots on offer during the week, sprinkled around Civic, Griffith and Turner. More could become available soon as interest in the site has been increasing.

■ Try larger-scale parking options around the triangle's edge. They'll require a longer walk, or perhaps a bike ride, and competition is set to rise, but savings can be found.

The Hyatt Hotel still offers 200 free parking spots off Commonwealth Avenue; across the lake, Barrine Drive spots are $9 a day (or free for cars with three or more people); and a few dozen cars can park for free at Kingston Oval.

■ Car pool and split the costs. If you work for ACT Health, you're already covered, with a website to help you connect with others in the department to get a ride to work.

The site comes complete with an etiquette guide, with tips including: provide a ''clean and reliable vehicle - nobody wants to sit where the dog slept last night''.

Alternatively, you could check sites such as carpoolone.com.au or carpoolworld.com, which have posts from people wanting to share costs.

■ Catch the bus. Daily adult cash fares are $8.60, while those using the MyWay smartcard prepaid system pay $5.68 for a return trip. Rapid lines servicing the town centres leave every 15 minutes or less, with frequent peak-hour services for those stopping closer to your street.

■ Ride a bike. It could save you more than $2500 in parking fees each year, while also ticking the exercise box.