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FLEET SPEAK: 7 September 2010 - Sense of inevitability over WPL

Date: 07 September 2010   |   Author:

Paul Barker is editor of BusinessCar

I'm feeling it's a case of 'when' rather than 'if' workplace parking levies make their way across the country. Admittedly, it's going to take at least a good couple of years before the full picture begins to take shape, but enough councils are now dipping their toes in the water and considering the prospect that it's surely just a matter of time before many take the full-on plunge.

There's still, however, a lot of groundwork to be done, and plenty of questions that will need answering. Office car parks are a very different proposition to public ones, so charging individual employees will be very, very difficult, given that some will only drive to work occasionally, while what happens to car park spaces a company says aren't used? It might be that a firm only uses half a car park most days, but occasionally, on those random occasions every member of staff drives to work, most of the car park is full.

Plus, what about issues such as double parking? In the BusinessCar office car park there are more than a dozen cars parked in what aren't official spaces. Would they be charged too? And what about enforcement? It'll take waves of council officers to check businesses are paying for the number of spaces they're using.

It sounds like a lovely, simplistic way of councils raising large bundles of cash, but the reality is going to be much more complicated, especially in areas where there isn't good public transport. If there was a cheap, reliable and fast option, people wouldn't sit in traffic jams. A snarl-up isn't fun, but when you comparing it with the alternatives it's entirely preferable, which I'm sure the councils know.

I've said it here before, but if, just for one day, everyone left their cars at home and took the bus or train, the carnage would take days to sort out. There isn't a reasonable, user-friendly route other than the car, so councils know people will just pay up rather than change their behaviour - which is why you can pretty much guarantee workplace parking taxes are something we'll be hearing plenty more about.

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