Almost £12m has again been invested into supporting local bus services and free travel for elderly and disabled people in Brighton & Hove.
The money, which comes from the surplus generated by on-street parking charges, parking permits and Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), was spent on free bus passes and subsidising a number of the city’s bus routes.
Members of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee will be asked to approve the Annual Parking Report when it meets next Tuesday 24 November.
The report shows that in 2019/20, £10.774m was spent on concessionary bus passes for eligible elderly and disabled residents while £1.216m was invested into supporting bus routes that would otherwise have lost money, but provide key services in parts of the city and help prevent isolation.
In 2019/20, there were 2,917 more applications for a bus pass than in 2018/19.
More than 750 residents also used the council’s taxi voucher scheme for residents who are unable to use their bus pass because of a disability.
Earlier this year, free travel for people with a Disabled Person’s Bus Pass was extended to 24 hours Monday – Friday. Travel times for people with an Elderly Person’s Bus Pass was also extended during the first lockdown for safer travel at a time when supermarkets were offering dedicated early morning shopping slots.
Amy Heley, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee said: “I’d like to thank the parking team for all their hard work to keep the city moving during a very challenging year.
“While we want to reduce the number of cars on our roads, reinvesting surplus income from parking charges is important for making sure public transport is accessible.
“Free bus passes for elderly and disabled people provide an essential lifeline to thousands of our residents and visitors.”
The Annual Parking Report
The annual parking report offers an overview of parking in Brighton & Hove, including income from council run car parks, parking permits, on-street parking charges and Penalty Charge Notices.
Among other highlights, the report for 2019/20 shows that:
• The surplus fell slightly from £16,782,152 in 2018/19 to £16,500,790 in 2019/20
• The number of Bus Lane Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued fell from 75,029 in 2018/19 to 53,822 in 2019/20
• The number of parking PCNs rose slightly from 122,685 in 2018/19 to 124,248 in 2019/20, partly due to the introduction of new parking schemes in the city
• The surplus from off street parking has decreased by £413,083 to £2,987,074. This is mainly as a result of the implications from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of Oxford Street car park
You can read more information by downloading the full report when it becomes available on our webpage where you can also read previous reports and watch a video which explains where parking surplus is spent.
A busy year for the parking team
Keeping the city moving during Covid-19
As with all other council services, the parking team have had to adapt to the challenges of working in a Covid-19 environment.
From early in the pandemic, we have offered free parking to NHS and other key workers in many areas of the city.
Our parking enforcement teams also worked to focus on serious incidents of dangerous or obstructive parking so that key goods and services could get to those who needed them most during the first lockdown period.
New electric vehicle charging points
We have recently completed the installation of more than 200 on-street electric vehicle charging points.
The chargers, which were paid for thanks to £300,000 from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and a further £100,000 investment from operator Electric Blue has significantly built on the growing electric vehicle infrastructure in the city.
Data from the first two months of their operation is also showing very positive results, including helping to save around 11 metric tonnes in carbon emissions.
Bus lane enforcement
Work has also continued to improve reliability of public transport in Brighton & Hove with greater enforcement of 12 of the city’s bus lanes.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed to deter motorists from driving in the bus lanes and slowing journey times for residents, visitors and commuters, who are using public transport.