Mike Waters' blog: 26 October 2011 - Charges change behaviour
26 October 2011
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
There's a lot of debate about the trend in consumers flocking to out of town retail parks while town centres across the country suffer. This is a shame as small independent shops struggle, but it really is no surprise because of the number of issues and obstacles that drivers face when making a journey into a town centre.
It's a given that the UK, as with most other European countries, is going through a difficult time with the need to generate revenue and reduce debt. However, recent research has showed that local councils continue to ¬target drivers by increasing parking charges.
Bumping up the charges at pay-and-display car parks and in some cases scrapping free bank holiday parking add to the costs of a trip into town. I guess there is an argument to walk or get the bus instead, but if you're looking to do some shopping, there's no way that you can practically get more than a couple of bags home.
So once again it is the driver that gets penalised and so it's not a shock that we are changing our behaviour to avoid these spiralling parking charges. Plus what do you get for your money; often the hassle of congestion as you enter the centre, the struggle to find one of few spaces and often the long walk from the shops to the car. It doesn't sound like good value to me!
In comparison, while you do have to drive to get to an out of town complex, there are always loads of parking spaces, you can get pretty close to the shops and best of all its usually free.
The boarded up shops and reduced footfall in town centres is clearly a problem for the country, and it is a great shame. But if you're going to make life difficult and expensive for drivers, then you can't be disappointed when they take the easier alternative.
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