Parking enforcement in Brighton & Hove is a big earner for the local authority. But those who have paid the price to park their cars can take some comfort from the knowledge that the surplus of £5.9 million collected by the council will be used to benefit the city.
Parking in Brighton and to an extent in Hove has always been a major bone of contention. Some motorists feel that there are never enough spaces and the price is too high. So people park illegally and end up paying even higher prices due to the constant presence of the ever-vigilant parking wardens.
But the Council is putting some of the income from parking in Brighton & Hove back into public transport, road improvements and other environmental measures to bring benefits across the city.
A report to members of Brighton & Hove City Council's environment committee on 26 May sets out how the surplus income from parking charges is being spent.
During the current financial year (2005/06) money will be spent of a range of initiatives including:
- £1.822 million on concessionary half price fares for thousands of residents aged 60 and over, people with disabilities and those unable to drive for medical reasons.
- £844,000 on subsidising bus services. A total of 27 bus routes are funded completely by parking income; in addition Monday to Saturday evening services on another four routes are supported and Sunday evening services on 18 routes are supported. These services are all vital for residents in the areas they serve, but are not commercially viable and without this subsidy would not run.
- £2.163 million towards meeting the borrowing costs of the Local Transport Plan. The council will borrow £4.7 million during 2005/06 to fund cycle routes, pedestrian schemes, traffic calming and other road safety schemes, highway maintenance and road improvements.
- £145,000 on more ‘real time’ information signs at bus stops and setting up bus lane enforcement.
- £50,000 on improving accessibility at pedestrian crossing for people with disabilities such as tactile paving and signal upgrade.
Other proposal will be presented to the environment committee for consider such as:
- £50,000 on refurbishing bus shelters in the Old Steine and carrying out necessary work to the road and pavement in order that they can be used by easy-access low-floor buses.
And some less relevant to transport such as:
- £70,000 on planting trees in the city's streets and parks.
Councillor Craig Turton, deputy chair of the environment committee, said, “Once costs have been accounted for, money from parking fees and penalty charge notices is put to good use and ploughed back into public transport and road improvements to benefit people across the city.”
BUSINESS FORUM COMMENT
Originally when parking enforcement was decriminalised so that the local authority could collect the revenue from fines it was made clear that ALL of the money would go into improvements in public transport. It is a worrying precedent that now revenue is being channelled into projects that are very worthy but not at all related to transport issues.
It is also disappointing to see such a small sum of money dedicated to expansion of the real-time information system which has been a real success and needs to be extended to more bus stops in the suburbs.
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