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Fat Controller says 'Car Parking Sir? Certainly. That'll be £800 million'

12 March 2015

Rip off rail firms have been accused of profiteering at passengers expense by hiking "back door" car parking increases to by-pass inflation only curbs on fare rises.

The TSSA revealed today that Network Rail and the private rail firms are charging as much as £215 for day long stays at city centre rail car parks while also charging as much as £3,000 for annual parkiing tickets at Birmingham's Snow Hill and £1800 at long distance commuter hotspots like Guildford and Reading. *

Last year, Network Rail and the 19 private rail franchises raked in £800 million between them in car parking charges on passengers, the union said. **

"Rail passengers are being caught in the crossfire by these greedy rail firms," said union general secretary Manuel Cortes. "They can charge what they like for parking because, unlike key rail fares, there is no government cap, it is a free for all.

"Charging over £200 for all-day parking in station car parks at Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds is little short of daylight robbery.

"And charging over £3,000 for an annual parking ticket at Snow Hill in Birmingham is simply outrageous, that's as much as many commuters pay for their annual season ticket.

He added that parking charges as high as £1800 at commuter hotspots like Guildford and Reading was effectively charging another 40% to 50% parking tax on top of annual season tickets which are already way too high anyway.

"Ministers may have limited regulated fare rises this year to 2.2% this year but passengers have still got both barrels with big hikes in parking on top of these ceaseless rises in annual fares. These firms now simply regard stations as local profit centres with passengers as captive cash cows."

He is writing to shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher asking him to take speedy action on the parking bonanza if Labour wins in May. He wants him to include parking in the price control curbs that Government uses to fix annual scheduled fare increases like season tickets and off peak travel.

"When you consider that the rail firms are making £800 million a year in parking fees from these passengers who already paying out £9 billion in fares, I think commuters deserve some additional protection. They are effectively being squeezed dry at the moment." ***


* Network Rail own and run the 18 largest stations in the country, including King's Cross, Waterloo, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street and Leeds. The remaining 2,500 stations are run by private franchises like Virgin, Stagecoach, First Great Western, GTR and London Midland which operates Snow Hill.

** ORR financial report on the cost of our railways, February 16 2015.

Most expensive annual parking tickets, Birmingham Snow Hill (£3003.30); Reading (£1805.50); Guildford (£1800); Cambridge (£1596.30).

Most expensive station city centre car parks; Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, and Leeds (£215 for a 12-hour stay).

Annual season ticket from Reading to London, £4,796, Cambridge to London, £4,648 and from Guildford to London, £3248.

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