29 September 2014

Parking revenues mainly spent on bus travel for older and disabled people

Most of the £11 million surplus made by Brighton & Hove City Council on parking fines and fees in 2013/14 has been spent on free bus travel for older and disabled people.

That’s one of the key facts in a draft of the city’s sixth Annual Parking Report.

The publication also says almost 3,000 drivers in Brighton & Hove are getting half-price parking because they drive low-emission vehicles.

In 2005 it was estimated just 70 vehicles qualified for the discount.

Councils are required by law to provide concessionary bus travel for older and disabled people – but get no government funding for it.  Officials say that if parking cash was not available the money would have to come from council tax.

The council made a surplus of almost £11.5 million on parking services in 2013/14, after costs were deducted.  All the money was put into a £14 million council pot for sustainable transport.  Of that, £10.2 million was spent on concessionary free bus travel.  There are currently over 46,000 free bus passes in circulation in the city.  The council is also obliged to pay for free bus journeys within the city made by visitors with passes.

Remaining funds helped pay interest on borrowing for transport projects, supporting unprofitable bus routes for social reasons, and other public transport costs.

Chair of the environment transport and sustainability committee Cllr Pete West said:  “I’d encourage people to look at the financial information section of this report.  It shows clearly that the council doesn’t make a ‘profit’ from parking because it all goes straight out again, mainly spent on vital travel provision for older and disabled people. 

“Charges also pay for parking enforcement which help ensure scarce parking space is used fairly, keeps people safe and the traffic moving.”

Councillors are expected to approve the report’s contents at a meeting of the environment, transport and sustainability committee on 7 October.

Download the agenda papers for the meeting which include the draft report (PDF 23.6MB) seen among the agenda papers for the meeting.