Telegraph Debate: Will increasing parking prices deter people from using cars?

Harcourt Road. Picture: Andrew Roe
Harcourt Road. Picture: Andrew Roe

‘We need to do more than just increase parking charges’

Ian Carey, Cycle Sheffield

Ian Carey - Cycle Sheffield

Ian Carey - Cycle Sheffield

In a climate of a minority government, Brexit negotiations, climate change and devastating terrorist attacks, it can be difficult to have any concern about a modest rise in parking charges in Sheffield.

Yet, in a way, all these important issues are linked.

The UK is buying more cars – we clearly like to drive. Yet we all moan about delays caused by congestion and don’t like it when we can’t find anywhere to park.

Increasing parking fees is unlikely to stop people from driving.

A bolder and more comprehensive approach is needed, one that will require firm political leadership to implement.

Sheffield should be planning for much more active travel to enable cycling and walking as convenient ways to get about.

Investment of at least 10 per cent of the transport budget is needed to build a high-quality active travel network of walking, cycling and public transport.

Being able to cycle to work or to the shops on well-designed cycleways and having somewhere safe to park a bike is needed.

Cycling and walking should be seen as an important part of local transport.

More active travel will help reduce congestion, improve our environment and perhaps, more importantly, bring us closer together.

Getting more people out of our cars will help us mix more, talk with others and help us understand each other.

As we leave the European Union we should not be leaving Europe.

We should be learning from our friends in Europe about how active travel can boost local shopping areas by making it easier for people to visit and mix.

We should be forming national and local coalitions of businesses, lobby groups and political parties to support a move towards active travel and less dependence on cars for local transport.

More active travel will take time to implement, but we need to start now.

Young people, more than ever before, came out to vote recently.

We all need to ensure that in 20 years time they can live in a better society that mixes more jobs with a better environment and nicer communities.

We need more that just increasing parking charges.

Denying drivers parking denies the journey Terry Hudson, Alliance of British Drivers

Parking comes under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 which is not a revenue- raising act. This has been confirmed by a number of court cases.

So how is it that councils (England only) made a whopping £756 million profit in 2015-16 a rise of nine per cent from the previous year?

Written into the original guidelines is that any surplus (they do not use the word profit) must be spent on transport issues, which is gradually being eroded by updates to the legislation, which gives councils so much leeway they can get away with generating these vast profits.

Sheffield Council ‘profit’ for the year 2015-16, was £3,466,000, even, after deciding what it costs to run their own scheme. This is only for council-run car on/off road car parks, not private ones.

So is there any justification for more price rises? Making driving more expensive and unpleasant does dovetail nicely into Government/Council plans for what they call Active Travel, forcing people out of their cars. The old adage of ‘denying drivers a parking place, denies them the journey’ seems to be ingrained into every council’s agenda.

Travelling in the city centre, where there is public transport may be fine, but once out to the suburbs and beyond, personal transport becomes more essential.

Disability, old age, often means the car is a lifeline to the outside world.

Actual travelling time, is an issue which is always conveniently passed over.

How long would your journey take you, if you had to use something other than the car?

Public transport runs to fixed timetables and destinations, so how does this fit in with most people’s lifestyles? Plus in theory, cars can take you door to door, quickly, in comfort, in all weathers?

There needs to be long-term planning’ Jenny Patient, of Sheffield Climate Alliance

It’s never great when day-to - day living gets more expensive, but there is very little in life that costs less than 70p nowadays – certainly not bus fares.

I think this level of increase in parking charges will probably not deter car use to any great extent, but it could raise some money to improve alternatives.

Often the ‘fixed’ costs of motoring (buying, insuring, maintaining and taxing a car) add up to as much as the costs of fuel and parking, but are not considered when making a journey. “The bus is £2, the petrol will only cost me 40p – so I’ll use the car”.

I make some journeys on foot, some by bike, some by bus, train or tram, some by taxi, and sometimes I hire a car. I like all these means of travel, and feel lucky to have so many choices and not to have a long commute.

When fares go up, or services get worse, it can be stressful.

I’d like there to be long-term planning by our council, so people can make the big decisions with confidence – such as where to live and work, and whether to buy a car. I’d like to see better facilities for combining different methods of travel.

Discounted group tickets and ‘evening and weekend’ £1 fares could get more people using the spare bus capacity at off-peak times. I’d like to see more ‘street cars’ available for self-service hire, and car-share and lift-share supported through social media apps.

Any form of travel has some cost for our environment, especially if it means burning fossil fuels.

We need options that allow us to get on with our lives,enjoy being active, and not pollute our city and planet.

‘Use the carrot not the stick for results’ Ellen Beardmore, writer foe Sheffield Telegraph

I don’t drive very often – perhaps once a week at the most.

My husband uses the car to get to work in Dinnington because the bus there takes 90 minutes. I generally walk,run, cycle or catch the bus. But nothing infuriates me more than the rising cost of parking in our city.

It’s a massive deterrent to people using the city centre.

Sometimes, we consider going for a bite to eat after work – then remember you have to pay to park until 8pm on what are often empty streets such as Campo Lane. So we go somewhere near home instead.

Sometimes, I go to the gym early on a Saturday morning, and it would be great to pick up several bags of shopping from the Moor Market at the same time, but you have to pay to park on the deserted roads near Decathlon, so the food shop gets delivered instead.

Off to the cinema? Why would you pay for parking on top of an £8 hotdog when it is free at Centertainment instead? You get the picture.

At our last rented house, like many other people, we had to buy a parking permit to park on our own street – but it was no guarantee of getting a space.

So we paid council tax, plus parking permits, plus parking charges for very little in return.

I’m all for reducing the impact on the environment – but there are some occasions when practicalities such as heavy items mean you have to use the car.

If the focus was on the carrot (improving cycle lanes and public transport) rather than the stick (punishing drivers with more fees ) perhaps there would be more success.

Parking charges are a healthy income stream for Sheffield Council. Bosses claim the money goes back into the service.

If that’s the case then I’d love to see a breakdown of how the money is spent.

They must have an army of wardens.

It’s also strange that half of the parking ticket machines are out of order if so much is spent on them.