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An extra 50p peak-time charge at Cambridge City Council car parks will start in April

Cars in the parking lot in row
Cars in the parking lot in row

Plans to reduce congestion and pollution prompt new fee - but £1 Park & Ride charge will be dropped

The new fees will come into effect at Cambridge City Council’s car parks from April as part of a 12-month trial agreed in this year’s budget, and at the same time as the £1 Park & Ride parking charge is dropped.

The price increase – an extra 50p per hour – will affect drivers who park between 8am and 10am, Monday to Friday, with the aim of getting them out of their cars and onto buses or bikes. Cllr Kevin Blencowe, lead councillor for transport, said: “We want to cut congestion, improve air quality and maintain value for money for short-stay parking.

“The new congestion tariff is intended as a disincentive to those who are thinking about driving in to the centre during the morning peak hours. We want to encourage motorists to use the Park & Ride during this period, rather than adding to congestion by driving to the city centre.”

He added: “We will continue to invest in our car parks, with initiatives such as the new ‘Tap and Go’ payments system, to maintain the great service that our customers have come to expect. The fair pricing structure will help us to do that, alongside tackling congestion and air pollution.”

The ‘Tap and Go’ system allows customers to touch in and out at the entrance and exit lanes and get charged on their payment card.

The changes to parking fees also include the dropping of the controversial Park & Ride ‘double charge’ which had users paying once for parking and again for their bus journey. The parking charge was added by the county council in 2014 and has seen the number of people using Park & Ride drop by 14 per cent.

Cambridge’s Labour MP Daniel Zeichner said: “At last! The decision by the county council to impose parking charges was a dreadful own-goal, and has made congestion in Cambridge worse.”

The Greater Cambridge Partnership and the county council will split the cost of the shortfall from the removal of the parking charge. The GCP, which is funded by central government, will pay £530,000 for an initial three year period.

Parking fees have been frozen for a fourth year at Castle Hill, Adam and Eve, Riverside and Gwydir Street car parks but business season tickets will increase by 30 per cent.

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