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COMMENT: Time for a change of heart on park-and-ride costs?
9:00am Saturday 21st June 2014 in News
OXFORDSHIRE County Council was honest last year when it said it was bringing in extra charges at its park and ride facilities to try to plug the holes in its budget.
You may not agree with the charge but the council floated what it was doing and there was at least a chance for debate.
What people may be less impressed by today, though, is the linked little windfall the council has been pocketing over the past five years through excess money being fed into its on-street parking meters.
You know the kind: they inform you there will be no change given if you don’t have the correct money.
Over five years that has mounted up to £17,670.
Now that is not a huge amount in the scheme of things but the fact is that it is not the council’s money.
It is the money of people who, through circumstance, didn’t have the right combination of shiny coins to feed the meter and so had to overpay.
Try doing that as a shop: “Only got a £20 note for that chocolate bar sir? Sorry. No change.” Or indeed as a contractor to the council.
Imagine, also, trying a similar stance when going to pay your council tax – the vast bulk of which goes to the county council – and rounding down to the most convenient figure.
The council will no doubt robustly disagree with our view but the principle here is one of fairness.
It explained openly the financial strife it was in when it raised park and ride fees, which has led to a significant revenue increase as we also report.
But it needs to recognise this nice little sideline will irk motorists and maybe it is not worth the price after all.
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