Dear Cllr Dodd
Thank you for your email about the above matter.
The headline in the press on this issue is unfortunate, and indeed, quite inaccurate. As you will appreciate, the story has been taken from the Executive’s report to the Authority’s Policy and Resources Committee on 4th March, at which members endorsed the draft, revised Park and Ride Strategy and gave authority for consultation to commence (report no. PTE/13/10).
The draft Park and Ride strategy sets out a framework of possible options for consideration by project officers in the development of park and ride facilities in Merseyside. This is to ensure that park and ride facilities achieve their intended purposes – for example, reduce the overall distance driven by car, encourage the use of public transport, tackle local congestion problems, tackle indiscriminate parking, reduce demand upon city centre parking facilities etc.
One of the draft policies concerns the issue of demand management, and the suggestion that the case for car parking charges, as a tool to manage demand for park and ride is investigated. This is a possible way in which to discourage some of the very short car trips to park and ride facilities that have been observed, and ensure that park and ride spaces are available for people who live further away from rail stations, or who would otherwise drive the full distance to their destination.
However, the draft policy is very clear that introducing car parking charges is an option only, and furthermore, one that would be considered on a site-by-site basis. Indeed, the possibility of charging for rail-based park and ride has existed since 2006, as it formed part of the second LTP’s Rail Strategy, meaning that it is not a new concept. The draft park and ride strategy thus build on this 2006 policy statement by stating that the merits of car parking charges will be examined as part of a mix of policy options, and ensure that park and ride supports the government’s transport policies as set out in “DaSTS” (“Delivering a Sustainable Transport System”).
In the short term, there is no intention of introducing car parking charges at the stations mentioned in the press articles. As you highlight, looking at car parking charges is one aspect of a much wider review of park and ride, and one that we are seeking the views of members upon, as we develop the strategy and the third Local Transport Plan.
Again, it is unfortunate that this misleading story has sought to identify specific stations at which charges would be introduced – this is not the case and is most certainly not the intention of the draft, revised park and ride strategy.
I trust that these comments help to clarify the scope of the proposals agreed by the Policy and Resources Committee earlier this month and please don’t hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.
Chief Executive and Director General