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How to avoid the parking trap!

Figures compiled by the Department for Transport indicate that some 69 per cent of UK commuting journeys are made by car and that most of those who opt to use their own vehicle do so because public transport in their area does not meet their needs. People who drive to work are already having to contend with rising fuel costs, congestion charges and increased parking charges. However, recent reports by thisismoney.co.uk and BBC Watchdog suggest that motorists are now having to face a new pressure: an explosion of parking ticket penalties imposed by private enforcement companies.

Motorists are now having to face a new pressure: an explosion of parking ticket penalties!

Hi-tech Parking Penalties

Finding somewhere to park is an increasing problem in our crowded town and city centres. With fewer companies now offering their staff a free parking space, commuters are being hit particularly hard. Large stores and retail parks, concerned that motorists who have no intention of shopping with them are nonetheless making use of their car parks, have increasingly turned to private enforcement companies to police their parking areas.

The result can be a parking ticket and penalty fine of up to eighty pounds!

Revenues raised by these agencies have increased from 21 million pounds in 2007 to 93 million pounds in the last 12 months. For private parking firms this is a great new money-making business model. But for the hard-pressed commuter who overstays a two-hour parking ticket in a supermarket car park, or who 'takes a chance' when he or she has no change for a private car park, the result can be a parking ticket and penalty fine of up to eighty pounds.

Enforcement methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated with parking firms using automatic number plate recognition cameras and direct electronic links to the DVLA to identify offenders; offenders who may simply be trying to attend work at a town-centre firm.

The Rising Cost of Driving to Work

Driving to work is an expensive option; the cost of diesel at the pump has risen by some 78 per cent in the last ten years and petrol cost rises are only slightly lower. Add to that a steep rise in parking charges in the last 12 months and the picture for commuters appears to be very bleak.

But, unfortunately, there is more. Congestion charges, which have been introduced in London and other cities, and the prospect of escalating parking ticket penalties have heaped more pressure onto the hard-pressed driver.

Workplace Parking Scheme

There is some good news, however. People who travel to work by car can avoid the parking trap by making use of a HMRC-endorsed scheme which offers them substantial reductions in their parking costs. The scheme is called the Workplace Parking Scheme and, provided your company agrees to opt in, it operates through your company's payroll.

People who travel to work by car can avoid the parking trap by making use of a HMRC-endorsed scheme which offers them substantial reductions in their parking costs!

Put simply, your employer buys you a parking season ticket for a car park near your workplace, making use of any discounts available for group business. You then repay your employer by monthly payroll deductions. But that's not the end of the good news. HMRC give you tax and NI relief on your payments saving you literally hundreds of pounds each year.

So why put up with the anxious hunt for a car parking space each day and risk the increasing likelihood of a parking ticket? The workplace parking scheme gives you peace of mind, knowing that you have a reserved parking space near work and that you are saving money on your parking costs each month.

Author: Eoin Olivers photo

Author: Eoin Oliver

Eoin Oliver is a web designer and blogger with six years of experience writing content and designing graphics for clients large and small. For the past three years Eoin has been focused on researching and writing about the childcare voucher scheme. When not hard at work, Eoin can be found in the company of his 4-legged companion Layla.

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