Judgement day for parking discounts in York

Councillors are to take a fresh look today at proposals to abolish the current discounts for Respark permits.

15 years ago, the then LibDem led Council, introduced discounts for the owners of short, low pollution cars. The intention was to make maximise the use of kerbside space, while providing a modest incentive for drivers to buy low emission models.

Under Tory proposals, discounts would only apply to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).  Essentially these are electric and plug in hybrids.

The proposers omitted to tell people that no “on street” charging facilities are available in York.

Hence, in effect, the discounts are being abolished.

Perhaps surprisingly the move to retain the traditional discounts comes from Green Councillors. They have something of a vested interest as they represent areas with many ResPark zones.

Small cars will lose their discount

They risk being characterised as opposing low emission transport; perhaps a parallel with the Tory government decision to abolish emission based Vehicle Excise Duty bandings in favour of rates based on a vehicles purchase price.

Both positions are counter intuitive to the party’s traditional positions.

Hopefully LibDem and Labour Councillors will get behind the rethink and support a more logical approach to ResPark charges.

The change could lead to a “hole” in the Councils income budget for next year. This could mean a 5% general increase in permit prices.

Bad news for small car owners in York

5.2 metre long hybrid behemoths could get discounted parking in York 

The York Council looks set to end the discounts available for the owners of small cars who park in central York. The decision will mainly affect Respark districts although some car park season ticket holders also stand to lose their concession.

In March 2004 the then LibDem controlled City of York Council took the pioneering step of offering Respark permit holders, who drove small low emission vehicles, a substantial discount on their parking permit costs. It was the first scheme of its type in the country.

At the time the discount was aimed at maximising the number of vehicles which could be parked in ResPark areas.  Then, as now, demand for on street spaces exceeds their ability particularly in terraced areas.

|The “short car” initiative meant that maximising the use of vehicles like the 2.7-metre-long Smart car could allow everyone a space. They also had the advantage of being economical, low emission vehicles although it was several years later that central government started to encourage low emission cars by establishing vehicle excise duty bandings which favoured small cars.

The Council used the new bandings to offer discounts for owners who bought season tickets for the Councils off street car parks. Drivers of excise duty bands A and B received a 50% discount.

Small cars will lose their discount entitlement 

Now the Council, is set to reverse its policy on encouraging small cars. Instead they intend to offer discounts on ResPark permits (and parking season tickets) only to the users of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV). These are cars which emit less than 75g/km or less of CO2 per mile.

815 existing permit holders would be affected by the change.

In effect this means the only vehicles to benefit from a discount will be “all electric” and “plug in hybrid” models.

This is a step in the wrong direction at least as far as ResPark permits are concerned.

Many of the ULEV vehicles available are not “small”. They include models like the Mecedes S Class 500E which is over 5 metres long. The smallest is a VW e-UP (3.5 metres) which is all electric and has a range of 90 miles (probably less in the real world).

E-up would get a discount but must recharge every 90 miles

……and that is the second problem. These vehicles must be recharged after each journey. There are no kerbside charging points in ResPark areas at the moment and not likely to be in the foreseeable future.  Owners would have to drive to and from a public rapid charging point of which there are a limited number in central car parks.

The councils new plan – which will be discussed at a meeting taking place next Thursday –  is ill considered.

It seems designed only to increase the Council’s income from car parking charges. It mimics central governments excise duty decision which focus on a vehicles value rather than environmental impact.

It is estimated that the change could bring in around £140,000 a year extra for the civic coffers.