The charge of Victoria
Transport chiefs are looking into charging hundreds of pounds a year to park cars in Birmingham city centre offices, the Birmingham Mail reported. Council transport committee chairman Victoria Quinn said that a levy should be “looked at”.
[Parking spaces could cost hundreds of pounds a year under Birmingham workplace parking tax, Neil Elkes, 12 April 2016 ]
Transport officers are studying the impact of the workplace parking levy introduced in Nottingham and looking to see if it could work in Birmingham as a way of reducing traffic and parking congestion.
But they have stressed that they are evidence gathering and that there are currently no plans to introduce one.
The levy has had a mixed reception in Nottingham where it was introduced in 2012 for all businesses with more than ten parking spaces. They are charged £375 a year per car with the revenue, about £9 million last year, invested in new tram lines and bus routes.
Officials are looking at whether there are enough parking spaces in some areas, charges for parking and investment in public transport and cycling to encourage less car use.
Parking cars “in” Birmingham city centre offices could prove a bit of a challenge. How would drivers get their cars through revolving entrance doors, or into lifts, for example? But if transport officers are looking to see if the Nottingham scheme has “reduced congestion”, they might well be advised to take some powerful microscopes with them.
The Nottingham scheme applies to parking spaces throughout the city — not just in the city centre — but raises “£9 million” a year. How does workplace parking space revenue compare with the cost of the transport infrastructure it is supposed to fund?
The capital cost of just one of Centro’s pet schemes — a tram line to Birmingham Airport — is about £500 million. Once built, there would be an annual operating deficit to cover.
As well as generating only trivial sums, workplace parking charging has no decongestion logic. For reasons unknown, Centro funds free public car parking at West Midlands rail stations. So, presumably, there could be a situation where a parking space for the station’s ticket office clerk attracted a workplace charge, but the adjacent public parking space was ‘free’.
Who would ultimately pay the levy? Neither Birmingham councillors nor Centro’s own staff appear to be keen on paying for parking. Councillors have their own free parking in the city centre, and Centro staff “revolted” when management tried to introduce charges at Centro House. To keep the peace, when a parking charge was finally agreed, it was set well below the rate charged at public city centre car parks, and all proceeds go to the staff association.