New car park charges to include a peak time congestion tariff

News release from 6 March 2018, 10:53am

NEW charges will come into effect at Cambridge City Council’s car parks from April, as part of the council’s plan to reduce congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

The new charges were confirmed as part of the council’s overall budget on 22 February, following consultation with city centre stakeholders in October of last year.

The changes include a charge to encourage drivers to switch to other modes of transport such as Cambridgeshire County Council’s Park and Ride to get to the city centre between 8am and 10am.

Parking initiatives include:

  • A peak time congestion tariff for a trial period of 12 months. This new tariff is designed to reduce the number of vehicles on city centre streets during the peak hours of 8am to 10am. It aims to encourage drivers to choose other modes of transport or to drive in the city during the less busy periods of the day. Parking between these times will attract an additional tariff of 50p per hour for every hour (or part hour) of stay. This change will follow the installation of new car parking payment machines;

  • Prices frozen for the fourth year in a row at Castle Hill, Adam and Eve, Riverside and Gwydir Street pay and display car parks;

  • A single tariff at multi-storey car parks, across the working week, ending the trial that saw prices on Mondays and Tuesdays reduced;

  • Evening tariffs for parking starting at 6pm (rather than 5pm);

  • An increase of 30% for season ticket parking for business users. This increase across all ticket types is to incentivise commuters to use less polluting, less congestion creating forms of transport;

  • Introduction of ‘Tap and Go’ where customers just touch in and out at the entrance and exit  lanes and get charged on their debit card, resulting in quicker payments and less queuing, in the same way as the Oyster card on the London Underground;

Cllr Kevin Blencowe, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, said: “We want to cut congestion, improve air quality and maintain value for money for short stay parking.

“The new congestion tariff is intended as a disincentive to those who are thinking about driving in to the centre during the morning peak hours. We want to encourage motorists to use the Park and Ride during this period, rather than adding to congestion by driving to the city centre.”

Cllr Blencowe added: “We will continue to invest in our car parks, with initiatives such as the new ‘Tap and Go’ payments system, to maintain the great service that our customers have come to expect. The fair pricing structure will help us to do that, alongside tackling congestion and air pollution.”

The council has invested £2.1million in its car parks in the past year, including essential improvements to surfaces, structure and drainage at Grand Arcade, Grafton East and Queen Anne Terrace car parks.

New energy saving LED lighting at the Grand Arcade, Grand Arcade annex, Grafton East and Grafton West car parks to reduce their carbon footprint, and new signage to enable improved pedestrian safety, are among other improvements made at the main car parks in recent times.