Only 7076 new Minster badges sold

98 residents fined for using old badges in evening

Only a small proportion of the 30,000 old style Minster badge holders have opted to pay £20 to get a new badgeMinster Badge

The latest figures released by the York Council suggest that 7076 of the badges have been sold

The badges entitle holders to free parking at Council car parks in the evening.

98 residents have incurred Penalty Charge Notices for relying on the old style badge during September.

It seems though that some are opting to pay the £2 a night evening charge. Evening car park income has increased since last year

  • 2013 £34,042.05
  • 2014 £40,754.50

No assessment has yet been made on the effects of the increased charges on the evening economy.

NB. The Minster badge also entitles users to pay lower day time car parking charges.

Parking income problems increase for York Council

Marygate

It looks like the installation of barriers at the Marygate car park – which cost taxpayers £100,000 – has reduced Council income by around £35,000 (20%) over the last 3 months.

Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

Income from Marygate Car Park in the 13 week period from 30th June to 28th September totalled £142,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £177,000.

Those expecting the blame to be placed on faulty barriers – they have been jammed in the raised position on a number of occasions recently – will be disappointed.

The York Council says,

“There have been some minor faults which, as with all newly introduced schemes, is to be expected whilst the system beds in. These have been dealt with expeditiously with minimal disruption to the fee-paying public”. (!)

It is the latest in a series of parking management blunders since Labour took control of the Council in 2011.

Most residents have faced a 100% increase in the amount that they pay to park while the Council sold off the Haymarket car park for a fraction of its true value in the depth of the recession.

Minster Badges

In response to a question tabled by the Liberal Democrats at the last Council meeting, Labour have admitted that only 6,300 of the new £20 Minster badges have been sold so far.

Over 30,000 of the old style badges were in circulation.

Minster Badge

A Minster badge is necessary to qualify for free evening parking. It also entitles users to a discount on day time parking fees.

The relatively low take up of the badges suggests that the charging scheme may be discouraging residents from visiting and shopping in the City centre.

“Free” parking

The Labour Councillor with responsibility for car parking in York has admitted that he doesn’t know how many drivers are taking advantage of the “free” car parking available at a limited number of locations on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

More worryingly, he says that the impact of the scheme on the Councils car parking account is impossible to calculate because of other factors such as the opening of the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton.

The Council are promising to check the vehicle counters at individual car parks over the next few weeks to try to get some idea of the impact that the – very expensive – scheme is having.

Subjectively it does appear that the morning rush hour has been busier over the last couple of months with journey times increasing.

When introduced, the free parking scheme was criticised by many as encouraging more vehicles onto the road during the morning peak period.

Moor Lane car park surplus to requirements

The Moor Lane car park – formerly used by Park and Ride services and which has been largely abandoned for the last 4 months – has now officially been declared surplus to requirements Behind closed doors logo

At a behind closed doors decision session yesterday it was agreed that the site would be disposed of.

To whom it may be sold and when remains to be seen. The site is zoned for housing in Labour’s latest Local Plan.

Ann Reid says,

“It is time that the Council made a decision on the future of the old Park and Ride car park on Moor Lane.  

There has been minimal use as a Pay and Display car park and although the College has used it over the summer I don’t believe that is sustainable over the longer term.  

The car park is also looking very shabby with no one taking responsibility for litter clearance or street sweeping.  

The sooner a decision is made the better.  

Any change of use will be subject to the normal planning process with the residents having the opportunity to comment on any proposals“.

 

We forecast – 25,000 unhappy York motorists on Monday

Only 3382 new Minster Badges sold.

Less than 10% of current users have been prepared to pay £20 for Labours new style parking discount badge

Minster Badge

The new badge is mandatory from Monday when the old blue free stickers – issued by the former LibDem run Council – will no longer be recognised by parking wardens.

Many traders fear that the message has not got through to shoppers and that some may be alienated if they receive a parking fine.

Another Lendal Bridge fiasco may be in the making. The quality of the warning signage about the change in the car parks on Monday is likely to come under intense scrutiny by residents.

Of over 30,000 current Minster Badge holders in York, only 3382 have so far bought a new Minster Badge. The badge was an initiative by Labour to try to bridge a £200,000 shortfall on parking income.

But it looks like it will make things worse, rather than better. Take up has been well below expectations and if motorists choose out of City centre retail parks in which to do their shopping, then the car parking account will be hit even harder..

Without the new badge, York residents will have to pay the same parking rates as visitors – meaning a hefty increase

Under the LibDems, in 2011 residents paid £1.10 per hour to park at most City centre car parks (those designated as “standard stay”). Residents will now see that increase by a staggering 82% to £2.00.

Even worse may be the effect on the City centre evening economy where the “free after 6:00pm” parking concession will also be lost.

Earlier in the year, a large petition was collected by residents who wanted to see things left as they were.

With the next Council elections only 8 months away, it is likely that the Liberal Democrats will become the first party to pledge to reintroduce the free Minster badge for residents.

In addition any regular visitor to the City should be able to buy one of the new style badges – in recognition of the money that they inject into the City centre economy and the jobs that it supports.

Vacant car parking spaces web links still not working

Still big gaps in Council information

Last year the York Council stopped providing information on its web site about the number of vacant parking spaces at its City Centre car parks.

York Live web site click to access

York Live web site click to access

It promised that the information link would be reinstated by “May”.

2 months later and the information is still not being provided for the most popular car parks like Nunnery Lane and Marygate.

The responsible cabinet member refused to apologies at a recent Council meeting for the delays.

He said people could use social media to find out where to park (actually none of the social media system provided real time parking availability information)

NB. The Council has also been unable to keep many of the on street “Variable Message Signs” in a good state of repair.

Marygate car park barriers cost £100,000

Labour back down and agree to fit card reader payment option by “early autumn”

The Council will fit a credit/Charge car payment option at the new Marygate pay on exit machines.

Marygate car park charges

Although they blame a “national issue with chip and pin devices” the reality is that the Council forgot to include the option in the original design specification.

The new system should not have been brought into service until a choice of payment options was available.

Card payments can be made at other City centre car parks like Piccadilly.

NB. Only about 1000 of the new £20 Minster badges have been sold so far.

Each of York’s 80,000 households is entitled to a badge which replaces the current free badge which was issued when the LibDems were in control of the Council.

There are around 30,000 active Minster Badges currently in use in the City.

From September, anyone without a badge will have to pay the full rate to park during the day and will also lose the right to free evening parking.

Council now claims A59 Park and Ride site completion date is Thursday 31st July!

On site wind turbine scheme jettisoned

Councillor Leven has now given a absolute commitment that all works connected with the Poppleton Bar park and ride site – plus associated works on the A1237 and the A59 will be completed by 31st July.

In an answer published to a question tabled at the last Council meeting he says,the contractors are scheduled to leave site by the end of the month.

The premature opening of the Poppleton Bar site has also been under fire although the numbers using the service are claimed to be similar to the figures at other Park and Ride sites immediately after their introduction.

Month 1 trip numbers Month 13 trip numbers Month 25 trip numbers
Grimston Bar (1994): 3,889 14,525 21,891
Designer Outlet (2000): 9,606 18,495 21,524
Monks Cross (2004) 13,550 35,429 43,797
Poppleton Bar (2014) 9,148 (8/6/14 – 1/7/14)

From opening, the number of cars parked at the new Poppleton Park & Ride site is between 70 – 100.

On a Saturday this increases to 200.

Electric bus on charge

With many of the electric buses running empty, the Council has been criticised for unnecessarily increasing CO2 emissions.

In response to a written question the responsible cabinet member has revealed that the provision of an on site wind turbine was aborted at the last minute. He claimed,

“the electric buses charge overnight at the First Depot in York. The electricity grid is off-peak at this time and of lower carbon intensity. There was a wind turbine in the design for Poppleton Bar however the supplier went out of business a month before installation. Officers are currently exploring alternative suppliers of renewable generation equipment for Poppleton Bar which could supply sufficient power for the on-site Rapid chargers which boost the range of the electric buses”.

Poppleton park and ride road works 28th June 2014

Labour Councillors have claimed that the decision to open the Poppleton Park and Ride site was taken by “officers” implying that they had no influence over the blunder.

Despite this 3 Labour Councillors were featured in a media photograph which covered the sites official opening.

Concerns over Marygate Car Park

Marygate car park equipment

 

Liberal Democrats have raised concerns over changes made to a city-centre car park ahead of this weekend’s Tour De France.

 owned car park on Marygate.

More surprisingly there is no option to pay by debit or credit card with only cash payments accepted.

Liberal Democrats say the move is a step backwards and has not been properly advertised. The changes are believed to have cost £100,000 with the installation of new ticket barriers.

 The move follows the unpopular introduction of anew charge which means residents will have to pay £20 for a Minster Badge parking pass.

 Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, commented:

 “The poorly advertised changes at Marygate represent a step-backwards for car parks in York as the pay by phone option will no longer be available meaning that motorists will no longer be able to use their cards to pay. As more and more services become cashless, it seems that Labour run York Council is going the opposite way.

 “There are some serious questions to be answered about spending £100,000 on the changes at the same time as asking residents to pay £20 for their discount Minster Badge. I don’t think local people will believe this represents value for money.

 “I am also concerned that these changes have been poorly advertised and many drivers will turn-up at Marygate expecting to be able to pay by card, but will instead have to trudge to a cash machine. Introducing the scheme just days before the busy Tour De France weekend is also questionable.”

Foreign language instructions clearly still visible state that credit card payments can be made.

Yesterday several bewildered  visitors were wandering around the car park asking for help with “change”.

Marygate car park gets barrier

The new equipment for Marygate has apparently has cost £100,000.

The reliability record of this type of system is also patchy

There are some big questions to be answered about value for money with residents discount Minster Badges now costing £20. .

NB. Will charges apply in the evening? How will badge holders exit without paying?

Residents now asked to pay £20 for “Minster” parking sticker

parking-charges-car-park-ticket-machine-149887544

The Council’s Labour Leadership are going ahead with their threat to scrap the free “Minster” badge which entitles residents to discounts on car parking charges.

This was introduced some years ago as a way of recognising that residents had paid for the car park to be established in the first place.

Residents will have to apply online to purchase a replacement badge. (Ironically, today, the web site https://www.york.gov.uk/minsterbadge links weren’t working).

The Council says that the charge will go towards making up a £280,000 shortfall on car parking income.

The shortfall has arisen since Labour increased car parking charges, some by as much as 80%, when they took office.

The new scheme means the end of “free” evening parking for residents. Free evening parking was something Labour campaigned for in 2007 when a £1 per evening charge applied for residents.

Now any resident, without one of the new Minster Badges, faces a £2 charge (the same as visitors).

When announcing their plans earlier in the year, Labour claimed that they wanted to provide an incentive for “frequent visitors” to return to the City, but it now appears that those living in the City’s hinterland will NOT be able to buy a badge.

With around £300,000 in car parking income now at risk because of the free morning parking introduced at some car parks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday, it seems unlikely that the council has got its sums right.

We predict a strong reaction against the new charges from residents, some of whom may now choose to shop, and play, away from the City Centre.