Watch where you park your hire car or van. Local councils look set to dramatically increase the cost of parking.
The age of austerity hasn’t been a great deal of fun for anyone, and that’s certainly true for local councils, who have seen their government funding effectively halved over the past few years. That loss of income has meant that councils have had to become increasingly inventive (and aggressive) about the things they charge for – which is why many councils now charge extra for services such as bin collections that were once rolled up with the regular council tax.
But still more money is needed, and parking has become the goose that just keeps laying golden eggs. This year, councils will earn £885 million from parking. Next year, that’s set to increase to £1 billion.
Petrolprices.com reports that parking prices are set to rise by an average of 25%, with some fees and residents permits costing 45% more. Add that to the increasingly hefty fines for accidentally wandering into a bus lane, and the mooted congestion charges in major cities, and it’s easy to see that the hidden costs of motoring are climbing.
We aren’t tin-eared to the plight of councils. We know they have to get their money from somewhere, and some level of parking charge is reasonable to ensure that town centre car parks deliver a decent turnover of spaces (rather than simply being filled by 8.30 and staying full for the rest of the day).
But there’s a tipping point at which the people who drive our rental vans choose to work with clients who aren’t in town centres. And the people who drive our hire cars will start to take those cars somewhere other than the town centre. And when that happens, all the effort and money being poured into keeping town and city centres relevant becomes irrelevant, because no one is venturing into towns anymore.
The push to rent
What the increases do show is that van and car ownership shouldn’t be taken as the default position anymore. When costs for driving and parking are so high, drivers need to look again at their options. Do you still need a vehicle all the time? If you switched to occasional or flexible car or van rental, how much could you save?
To explore your vehicle options, talk to us now.