Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Multi-storey income falls after ticket changes

INCOME has fallen at council-owned Mell Square car park, Solihull after drivers were no longer allowed to pay when leaving.

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In April 2012 drivers were told to pay up front for parking at the multi-storey so savings could be made from cheaper equipment and less staff.

In the previous 12 months the car park brought in £940,070 but this fell to £725,866 in the following 12 months, when the new system was in place.

A council report said: “There has been a noticeable drop in income from Mell Square car park.”

This is because of the change but also the recession and the offer of two-and-a-half hours free parking at the neighbouring Morrisons supermarket, it said.

The council has urged the supermarket to introduce charges.

The report said: “The store has been contacted twice to raise the issue of offering free parking and its effect on other retailers and the impact on the council’s car parks.

“The store’s response regrettably is one of being content with their current car park management strategy; in that the store is performing well and they are not proposing to make any changes.”

The pay and display system was also introduced at Lode Lane car park in July last year and income rose from £436,933 to £470,189 in the same period.

The council said this was as a result of people unable to park at its Marks & Spencer car park when its machines were vandalised and the opening of a Premier Inn nearby.

Councillors asked officers to look into the impact of cutting prices but were warned against lowering fees, particularly for two to three hours.

The report said: “This option was considered unlikely to yield greater income against a background of continuing decline in car park visits.

“Applying the suggested reduction against current numbers of visits would result in a loss of £100,000.

“This was felt to be too high a risk and would only serve to increase the current pressure on income levels.”

Reductions to permits bought by businesses are being considered, however.

But they said there had been “very few” complaints and less than those received under the previous system.

Complaints about the old system included barriers getting stuck; customers losing tickets and queuing at barriers and pay stations.

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