Controversial change to parking arrangements in York

Small car ResPark discount to be scrapped.

Smart EQ fortwo length x width x height

The Council is set to abolish the short car parking discount introduced almost 20 yeas ago. The discount was introduced in order to encourage residents to use smaller cars.

In turn, this freed up more kerb space for other drivers in areas where space is usually at a premium.

Ford Tourneo Custom L2 measures in mm

If the change is agree, users of cars like the Smart (2.7 mtrs long) will pay the same charge as could be levied on Bentley (5.5 mtrs) or mini bus drivers.

There will be a low emission discount although the Council continues to ignore the problems faced by electric vehicle owners who have limited charging options.

As is now usual with the current Council, there has been no consultation on the proposed changes.

There are some less controversial plans which form part of the “Parking Services digital improvements”. These include the introduction of virtual permits and car park cashless payment systems.

Proposals are to be brought to the Executive Member for Transport Decision Session on Tuesday 11 August.

Other changes proposed include:

  • Virtual permits which can be managed by resident via an online portal, with alternative options for customers without internet access;
  • Cashless trial at Marygate car park alongside introduction of the new pay on exit system;
  • Extension of operating hours at Piccadilly car park (until 8pm)in line with the longer opening hours of the footstreets;
  • Renaming of Piccadilly car park to Coppergate Centre car park to provide a better and unique identity to this key Council asset;
  • Update to Traffic Regulation Order for some permits to better represent customer requirements, such as introducing parking permits solutions for guest houses, AirBnBs and other holiday lets;
  • Update Parking discount criteria to make this consistent with other Council Services;
  • Residents paying for parking permits at the council’s Customer Centre will no longer be able to use cash to support the prevention of COVID-19 contamination. The same will apply for Penalty Charge Notices once a solution has been put in place

Proposed changes, if accepted, will go live at the end of the year

ResPark plea for Albemarle Road area

Residents say they want a ResPark scheme on Albemarle Road according to a report being considered by the York Council next week. The move comes in the wake of a move to open up a Multi User Games Area (MUGA) for public use at the nearby Millthorpe School.

Part of the planned restrictions which also affect Philadelphia Terrace and Ovington Terrace

The proposal includes the extension of parking restrictions in the area. As we reported some weeks ago, there is already an issue with the narrow highway being obstructed as a result of parking. It is thought that ResPark would reduce the pressures on the street.

Officials say that they cannot complete the ResPark processes before the MUGA opens in the summer bringing the prospect of increased disruption for at least a limited period of time.

Bishopthorpe Road parking restrictions

The meeting will also hear about representations made regarding the installation of a pedestrian refuge in the Bishopthorpe Road area.

Planned parking Restrictions on Bishopthorpe Road

The original proposals attracted a large number of objections.

The plans include the creation of a “clearway” from the racecourse to Bishopthorpe Village.

“Pay by phone” parking to be extended to “on street” spaces in York

Pay by phone transactions at the York Councils, off street, car parks now account for 27% of the income received.

Drivers mostly use cards to pay for the rest.

Free RingGo Apps halve the time it takes to pay
Parking App

The York Council is now planning to extend Phone/App payments to “on street” spaces. We think this is a move in the right direction.

A review of parking arrangements will also lead to:

  • Streamline process of extension of existing residents parking zones including recruiting extra staff
  •  Pay monthly options for Respark with screen badges scrapped referred to as paperless virtual parking (like the new VED system)
  •  the procurement of a new parking system that will introduce online self-service for customers to become the principle channel for online application and payment for parking permits, visitor vouchers, same day online payment for parking tickets, and to automate the requirement for evidence. Cash will no longer be accepted in council offices for parking permits and all penalty charge notice (PCN)
  • Provide a cashless system in Marygate car park, given most people now use card. This will be subject to the integration of permits (e.g. Minster Badge and Season tickets) into the Pay on Exit technology. Piccadilly car park may also become “pay on exit”
Marygate car park

Huge amounts of money have been spent by the Council equipment and barriers at Marygate in recent years to provide a “pay on exit” option. The equipment – for several years – provided to be unreliable although has improved since the provision of ANPR monitoring.

The report is silent on emerging issues like the provision of on street charging facilities for the growing number of electric vehicles. Some policing of off-street charging points may also be required.

The Council report claims that the move to online service only will save substantial amounts of council staff time. The report says that 50% of visits to West Offices relate to parking issues.

Nevertheless, the absence of a proper business case (including investment and revenue assumptions) , together with achievable implementation milestones, may cause concerns for some taxpayers.  

Council “U Turn” on ResPark discounts?

Small car discount

The York Council announced a few weeks ago that it was restricting the discounts available for small vehicle users who needed ResPark permits. It said that in future the permits would only be available for drivers of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV).

These are electric vehicles. There are no “on street” charging facilities for such vehicles in York.

Also being lost were the 50% discounts that currently apply for the drivers of short cars. These were introduced over a decade ago when small cars like the “Smart” came onto the market. The idea was to reduce the demand for kerbside space. Discounts were available for vehicles under 2.7 metres long.

These disappeared when the new charges were agreed earlier in the year.

They have now mysteriously reappeared in the minutes of a subsequent meeting. It is a shame that the Council were not more open in their debate about discounts. They have still to explain how any ULEV owner could reasonably be expected to recharge their vehicles.

Separately a “scrutiny” report on the vexed subject of ResPark is being presented to an executive meeting next week. The report recommends several changes including larger ResPark areas and electronic enforcement options.

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.

Oliver House – the parking issue

Thanks to those residents from the Bishophill are who contacted us to say that some people are apparently exploiting the Oliver House situation to get free car parking.

The property is located in the middle of a ResPark area with residents paying around £100 a year (depending on car size) for parking permits.

Cars parked at Oliver House

Cars parked at Oliver House

Apparently some drivers are monopolising the car parking spaces which were provided for the use of staff and residents at the elderly persons home.

The 8 spaces could bring in around £1000 a year from car parking charges.

On Sunday only one of the parked vehicles was displaying ResPark pass suggesting that the Council is loosing out on potential income.

It’s about time that the Council explained what is going to happen with this building and when.