Car owners are leaving their vehicles at home due to the cost and availability of parking, a new report from the RAC claims.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of people who leave their cars at home for short journeys and use public transport instead, said they did so because of a lack of affordable parking.
Almost a fifth (18%) of motorists questioned for the latest RAC Report on Motoring identified the cost of parking as one of their top-four concerns, compared with 12% in 2015, while 14% said availablity is a top-four motoring concern, compared with 8% in 2015.
Councils are 'on the side of motorists, shoppers and businesses'
Similarly, the RAC said that while drivers’ average annual mileage has changed relatively little in the last 12 months, a quarter (24%) of those who use their cars less said difficulty in finding parking was a factor, compared with 14% a year ago.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: ‘We hope that the growing concern about the cost of parking is not symptomatic of a blatant attempt by operators to generate increased profits or by policymakers to force more people out of their cars and onto expensive or inadequate public transport instead – a case of using too much “stick” and not enough “carrot” when it comes to making motorists change behaviour.
‘In fact, our research tells us that more than half of drivers (54%) would drive less if public transport was better and 44% of this group would use it more if the fares were not so high.’
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: ‘Local authorities remain on the side of hard-pressed motorists, shoppers and businesses and do not set on street parking charges to make a profit. Any surplus is spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling the £12bn roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.’