Shoppers complain as council changes parking charges
BIRMINGHAM City Council is under fire for removing options to pay to park for one or three hours, meaning that motorists may now have to pay for unnecessary time.
Before the change on April 1, drivers were able to choose whether to pay for one, two, three, four or more hours of parking.
Now the options for one and three hours have been removed, meaning that drivers wanting to stay for less than an hour must pay for a minimum of two hours, and those who want to stay for more than two hours must shell out for four. But the authority has defended the policy, saying that the price of parking is still “very competitive”.
Wednesbury resident Cassie Stroud uses the council-run Snow Hill car park every Saturday when she comes to shop in Birmingham.
Ms Stroud, 39, used to pay for three hours of parking, which used to cost £4. However, now she has chosen to cut her shopping trips short to two hours, rather than pay £5.80 to park for four hours, which is more than she needs.
“I go to Birmingham every Saturday to shop and get a coffee. Three hours was perfect,” said Ms Stroud.
“I’m not going to spend £1.80 extra on parking I don’t need.
“Now when I walk past a shop and think I would like to try on that dress I won’t because I have to get back to the car.”
Other parking options in the centre of town include the NCP car park in Dale End, where you can park for an hour for £1.60, three hours for £3.60 or four hours for £4.60.
This compares to the council-run Snow Hill car park which charges £3 for two hours or £5.80 for four.
“I would probably choose an NCP car park instead now which offer three hours, and is cheaper anyway”, said Ms Stroud.
She wrote a complaint about the charges to the council.
The council replied apologising but insisting that pricing was fair.
A spokesman wrote: “I’m sorry that the removal of the one and three hour tariff bands have proved an inconvenience to you but hope you will see that the charges at Snow Hill remain comparatively reasonable for a very centrally located car park.”
They justified the change by saying that the one and three hour tariffs were not as popular.
Private car parks in the city centre have also recently increased their prices.
In April, the Bullring ditched it’s one-hour rate which cost £3, meaning the minimum spend is now £5.50 for two hours.
Shoppers must pay this rate even if they nip into the centre for 20 minutes to collect an item.