York Council Car parks: detailed income figures published

Following concerns about declining use of City centre car parks, the York Council has published details of the monthly income that it is receiving from each.

Car park income Nov 2015

In total the York Council receives over £5 million from off street car parking charges each year. 

Recent reports pointed to a “below budget” performance which was partially blamed on unreliable barrier equipment installed in July 2014  at the Marygate car park. The detailed figures now published, suggest that the 12 month rolling average income for Marygate saw use of the facility decline until as recently as August of this year.

It has yet to return to pre-barrier levels of use.

The Council’s policy on charging has been heavily criticised over recent years with the, then Labour controlled, Council imposing huge increases in prices – particularly for residents. A paid for “Minster Badge” was introduced but this has failed to attract the expected number of purchasers.

These factors were blamed for a decline in use – and the migration of shoppers to out of town retail outlets.

The Council  is set to review its parking policy at a meeting being held on 28th January  Before that, in December, it is expected to set its parking charges for the forthcoming financial year.

Marygate car park income plummets by £114,000

Freedom of Information (FOI) response confirms that the former Labour Council did not record number of faults reported on the barrier equipment

Marygate car park

Marygate car park

 

An FOI response has confirmed what many feared. The introduction of barrier controls at the Marygate car park has seen the number of drivers paying to park there reduce, resulting in a substantial fall in income.

  • The income received by the Council in the 12 months since the barriers were installed has been £556,442,
  • In the equivalent period, before the barriers replaced “pay and display”, income had been £672,547.

In the past the Council has used surplus income from parking to invest in the maintenance of highways infrastructure. If that income is no longer available then transport subsidies – for services as wide ranging as off peak bus services, car park maintenance and road repairs – will have to come direct from taxpayers.

 In turn, this is likely to lead to a further fall in the funding available for other essential services.

The last Council was also criticised for selling off the Haymarket car park for a fraction of its real value. This move lost the Council  another £200,000 a year in car parking income.

The reduced use of City centre car parks has, of course, been influenced by other factors. Charges have almost doubled during the last 4 years while successful additional park and ride facilities have been provided at Poppleton and Askham Bar.

But the failure of the Council to accept that the barrier system adopted or Marygate involved major reliability risks is a contributory factor.

It has also been revealed that the last Labour run Council did not record the number of faults reported on the Marygate equipment. Usually the barriers would “fail” in the open position effectively allowing free parking so it is perhaps not surprising that the Council has not received any compensation claims for mechanical failures.

Since May there have been seven occasions where barrier failures have occurred at Marygate.

In the same period a further seven faults have developed on the ticket issuing machines.

The Council has not retained records of how long it took to fix each fault. It does however say that the costs of repairs were covered by the suppliers warranty with “approximately £300 spent on spare parts”.

The change to barrier control was part of a trial aimed at removing the pressure on visitors to return to their cars before their “pay and display” ticket expired.  However the introduction of “pay by text” effectively addressed this issue as drivers are now able to buy additional parking time remotely using their smart phones.

The £100,000 cost of making the change now looks to have been a major folly with the number of occupied parking spaces having actually fallen.

Countdown to Scarborough Railway Bridge replacement

Marygate car park to be closed during February

Rail passengers, York residents and visitors to the city are being reminded to plan ahead this half term as the old bridge deck of Scarborough Rail Bridge will be lifted out and a new one installed.

The work to refurbish the bridge means that no trains can run over it between 14 and 23 February, with coaches replacing First Trans-Pennine Express trains between York and Seamer.

The worksite in York will also affect local residents and visitors. Marygate car park will be closed from 2 to 27 February to safely accommodate the crane and other construction equipment. The footbridge alongside Scarborough railway bridge which also carries National Cycle Network route 65 across the river will be closed from 9 February to 2 March and the shared use paths on either side of the river under Scarborough railway bridge will close between 14 and 22 February.
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