Motoring|

Motorists Pay More to Park

Parking MetersAccording to figures revealed by the Co-Operative Motor Group, workers and shoppers in town centres are being hit with significant rises in car parking charges. In three years, on-street parking fees jumped 125% in Doncaster, which was found to be the worst hit. The data was obtained by the company under a freedom of information request and reveals that local councils are raising £1.35 billion a year in parking services income.

The Co-Operative Motor Group says that English local authorities raised an additional £184 million from parking fees last year (excluding penalty charge notices). This was compared with income received from parking charges in 2007. However, including the penalty charges, the income rises to £277 million, which is 25% more than three years before.

In the last three years, the five councils that have raised off-street parking charges the most were: Wigan by 92%, Preston by 38.5%, Scarborough by 36.4%, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Telford by 30%. The five councils that have increased on-street parking fees the most over the last three years were: Doncaster by 125%, Derby by 42.9%, Scarborough by 33.3%, Manchester by 28.4% and Halifax by 25%.

As for London boroughs, there weren’t any individual numbers revealed, but they were given an overall figure showing that there was no rise in off-street or on-street fees. Despite this, some London boroughs have seen price rises, and millions of drivers in the city and surrounding areas have had to pay over £100 just to park outside their own homes. In some cases, residents are paying 400% more to park on the street where they live.

The biggest hike was seen in Woking, Surrey, with resident permits rising 400% from £10 a year to £50 a year. The cost of a resident’s permit in Barnet, North London rose 150% from £40 to £100 per vehicle, while visitor permits have jumped 300% to £4 per car, per day. Resident permits in Islington rose 60%, with mid-band permits jumping from £70 to £190. On top of this, it’s been revealed that Westminster will ban free parking in the West End and charge as much as £4.80 per hour to park in the evening, with different charges for Sundays.

However, parking charges haven’t been soaring in all councils, with Wolverhampton dropping off-street fees by 33.3% during the three-year period, and charges falling 15.8% in Hull. There was also no movement in off-street parking prices in areas like Worcester, Plymouth, Cardiff, Torquay, and Huddersfield.

Co-Operative Motors general manager Tony Guest says that drivers have been viewed as cash cows since the recession and implementation of spending cuts by the government. Their research shows that parking charges have dramatically increased, which is a double hit to motorists with the rise in fuel prices. South of England drivers are getting hit the hardest, with local councils getting £708 million more from car parking charges in those regions.

 

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