Parking overpayments make East of England councils £550k

Parking overpayments make East of England councils £550k
Drivers are being forced to pay over the odds at car parks thanks to ticket machines that do not give change, new figures suggest.

The data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, showed that motorists in the East of England alone paid more than half a million pounds extra in 2015.

Between them, the 26 local authorities that responded to the BBC’s call for information pocketed more than £550,000 from the overpayments.

The Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk made the most from the ticket machines, earning £69,629, closely followed by Peterborough City Council, which received £66,774.

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Responding to the figures, the RAC said that many motorists will feel as though they are being unfairly charged.

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A spokesperson said: “Half a million pounds might be small change to councils, but to hard-pressed drivers, every penny counts. Many will think they are being made to pay a penalty for doing the right thing and buying a ticket.”

In total, 50 councils were asked to provide information on their earnings from parking machines that do not give change.

But 21 could not supply the figures, while three said they did not use pay-and-display machines.

Peterborough City Council said that it had been able to keep parking tariffs low by using ticket machines that do not give change, which are cheaper to purchase and maintain than those that do give change.

But several councils employ a “linear tariff” system that gives motorists extra parking time for any additional money they pay into machines.

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Among this group was Cambridge City Council, which said the system was fairer to customers, and Maldon District Council.

According to the figures, the former received just £216 in overpayments, while the latter received none at all.

Figures from the RAC Foundation showed that councils took in some £667 million a year from parking charges in 2013/14.

But the use of pay-and-display machines is thought to be on the wane, as councillors make the move towards online and telephone payment systems.

There have also been calls for local authorities to allow drivers to pay for parking when they leave a car park, which can reduce the risk of them being overcharged by accidentally staying too long.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.