Parking costs and low availability a concern to drivers, RAC finds

The latest 2016 Report on Motoring from the RAC has found the number of motorists that are concerned over the availability of parking has increased by 75 per cent over the past year.

The survey indicated that 14 per cent of drivers believe the availability of parking was one of their top-four concerns, an increase from eight per cent in 2015. Almost a fifth of the motorist surveyed said the cost of parking was one of their top worries.

Meanwhile, 84 per cent also said the accepted high costs of parking made them an ‘easy target’ for local authorities looking to raise revenue through parking fines.

David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “We hope that the growing concern about the cost of parking is not symptomatic of a blatant attempt by operators to generate increased profits or by policymakers to force more people out of their cars and onto expensive or inadequate public transport instead – a case of using too much ‘stick’ and not enough ‘carrot’ when it comes to making motorists change behaviour.

“In fact, our research tells us that more than half of drivers (54 per cent) would drive less if public transport was better and 44 per cent of this group would use it more if the fares were not so high.’

In response, the Local Government Association (LGA) countered: “Councils have to try and strike a balance when setting parking charges to ensure there are spaces available for everyone at all times of the day and we can keep traffic moving.

“If charges are too low, high street spaces can be filled by commuters making it impossible for shoppers to park and having a negative knock on impact on local businesses. Residents and businesses expect councils to enforce the law.”