Today I have received back a written response from Essex County Council with regards to my asking them to consider adjusting their parking charges at the Colchester Park and Ride, to accommodate a lower per-car charge to make the scheme cost effective to use for families and multi-occupant car users.

Personally, we would use the Park and Ride in Colchester if the County Council would consider a potential maximum parking fee of perhaps £4.50 per car and not charge per person as it does so now.

For two adults and two children, the current charging plan would cost a family of four £8.00* to park in the Colchester Park and Ride.

Charging per person encourages us as a family to use cheaper town centre car parks instead where the cost is often lower for a couple of hours stay, increases town center congestion and adds to already high levels of pollution in and around our local area.

But more often that not, due to the desire by Colchester Council to steal money from residents and visitors with their “pay and display” parking meters (doesn’t give change), poorly designed parking layouts (tight spaces, slippery unmarked floors), terribly lit and dirty under resourced and maintained car parking infrastructure, we end up being pushed away from shopping and spending money in Colchester and into the arms of other local towns’ such as Braintree and Chelmsford and Ipswich for a modern, invested, maintained, hassle free parking and shopping experience.

Indeed, there is a disconnect in Council’s policy to reduce car use in Colchester, yet they insist on offering discounted parking rates to encourage all day parking and next to nothing for the quick visit shopper.  This is for another blog post with a “wonderful” response from Cllr. Mike Lilley.

But for now, here is ECC’s response…

Dear Mr Hagon,

We can confirm that we have looked into this issue with our Infrastructure Team.

They thank you for your suggestion about Colchester Park and Ride pricing. They advise that if implemented, your suggestion would effectively offer a discount bus fare for those that choose to car share.

They are keenly aware of the low car parking prices in Colchester and the need to be competitive. The adult daily fare to use the bus service, which offers a ‘hop on, hop off’ approach, is comparable to a standard bus fare. We have frozen the adult daily bus fare of £3 for the time being in Colchester to remain competitive, whilst it is increasing to £3.50 at Chelmsford Park and Ride from 1 August.

Parking for football matches and events at the Weston Homes Community Stadium is available for £3 per car. Prices may vary for special events and concerts. The car park has extended opening times on these occasions. Multiple occupants in a car might reasonably park and cycle into town without incurring further cost.

Users of Park and Ride have to be prepared to break their journey, even if their journey beats the congestion in dedicated bus lanes. So price is only one part of their decision. Users of the Park and Ride like the staffed building and toilets and the premium buses. They can ‘hop on, hop off’ the bus service, which offers really good value if they want to visit the hospital, station and/or town centre. Some of these benefits are not important to people that want the cheapest price for town centre car parking.

They have recently completed an insight survey locally. They will be considering all feedback and will consider your suggestion as part of this.

Thank you for using Colchester Park and Ride.

With best regards

Customer Services
Essex County Council | 0345 743 0430
http://www.essex.gov.uk

Colchester Park and Ride
http://www.essexhighways.org/Getting-Around/bus/park-and-ride/colchester-park-and-ride.aspx

* Correct at time of publication (27.07.17)