Council claims economic climate and additional staffing costs have forced its hand
The CPT has entered discussions with Oxford City Council about a recent increase in coach parking charges at the Oxpen Coach Park from £10 to £20 for 24 hours.
Karen Tiley, CPT regional manager for London and the South East, has met with Roy Summers, deputy head of direct services, and Jason Munrow, parking manager (both of Oxford City Council) along with CPT member John Jamieson of Premium Coaches to discuss the 100% increase.
Karen said: “We explained that many coach operators who regularly bring visitors to Oxford were outraged by the increase in cost and felt it was unfair we were unable to put a case forward against the increase.
“We argued the cost of the increase was not in line with any other coach parks in the country and the council was not improving facilities to include the likes of additional toilets, driver’s room, toilet drop and wash facilities. We could not see how Oxford City Council justified the increase.
“Operators who have already put tours together and included the old cost into the package will lose out on profit. Many of the coach operators drop visitors off for a couple of hours and do not want to pay £20. Why can’t we have an hourly tariff? One of the main problems the council will now have is coach operators using alternative roads or the industrial estate to park for a couple of hours.”
The Council stated the Coach and Lorry Park has very limited availability and is mostly utilised by coaches rather than lorries. This can create challenges for operators within the peak operating periods, as many struggle to find suitable parking within the city centre. Accommodating for additional coaches entering the city has resulted in the need for extra traffic management staff to be employed.
The Council said it could not continue to absorb the additional costs and had no option but to look at increasing the charge for the majority of users. The hourly tariff is not to be implemented as the council want to encourage coach parties to stay for longer in the city.
Karen added: “The council has agreed to monitor the coach park for British operators; having been over to the park after the meeting, it was full of foreign coaches apart from two.
“I have agreed to get the views of operators who regularly use Oxford for tours and whether the increase in the parking charge will deter you from going there. If this is the case, please let me know.”