York’s unique Minster badge scheme which has helped to protect York residents from high car parking charges is being scrapped by Labour.
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.
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The Council is offering what they term as a frequent visitor badge.
However these will cost £20 a year to buy (and are not restricted to York Council Taxpayers).
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The Councils own survey (see left) of residents, revealed that the vast majority no longer drive into the City centre frequently enough to make such a badge a worthwhile purchase.
Only those using the car parks several times a week would get any benefit and they probably already choose to buy a season ticket. (A season ticket, which allows unlimited parking for a year, costs less than £500 for a small/low emission vehicle)
The news comes at a time when traders have claimed that Saturdays no parking fee trial had been a success.
The trial will have cost the Council around £20,000 in income. First buses will also have lost income on their Park and Ride contract.
Crunch time for City centre
So its crunch time for the City centre economy. Few residents are going to pay those kind of charges when they can get free parking at out of City shopping centres.
The Council is still promising “pay on exit” barriers at the Marygate car park, but that initiative is too little too late.
Even if the Lendal Bridge closure is lifted in March, it will take a long time to restore the City’s reputation with both residents and visitors.
The number of shoppers in the City centre was continuing to fall even before the Lendal Bridge closure
The next local elections are little more than a year away now though, so there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
Labour are leaving an economic nightmare for someone to clear up.