£17,600 is collected from Oxfordshire parking meters thanks to motorists’ loose change

Oxford Mail: One of the metres, which do not give change One of the metres, which do not give change

THOUSANDS of pounds are being overpaid by drivers in on-street parking meters across the county that do not give change.

In a Freedom of Information request from the Oxford Mail, the county council has revealed that since 2009 it has collected £17,670 from its 112 parking ticket machines through overpayments.

The county council controls all on-street parking meters, which do not take 5p, 2p or 1p pieces, and some do not accept the newer 20p and 10p pieces. Streets that have parking meters include Broad Street and Mansfield Road in Oxford which charge £2.50 an hour.

Meanwhile, it has also emerged the council’s park-and-ride sites at Thornhill and Water Eaton have taken more than £250,000 since it introduced a parking charge of £2 in November.

John O’Connell, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Overcharging motorists by using machines that don’t give change is disgraceful behaviour.

“Drivers are already stung by excessive motoring taxes and shouldn’t be hit by extra charges because they haven’t got exact change.”

Mo Hamza, from Sandhills, said: “I always make sure I have the right change because I know I won’t get the change back, but it’s definitely not fair.

The 27-year-old account assistant said: “Pennies make the pounds so why should the council keep them?”

But county councillor David Nimmo Smith, below, the cabinet member for transport, said people were expected to have the correct change.

Oxford Mail: David Nimmo Smith

It comes as the amount of income from the two park-and-ride sites has risen from £42k in 2012/13 to £258k in the eight months from November 2013, when a £2 parking fee came in at both sites for up to 11 hours.

The adult return bus fare from Water Eaton park-and-ride to Magdalen Street, Oxford, also costs £2.70.

Retail operations manager at Boswell’s department store Frank Smith said: “The councils need to do more to help the retailers in Oxford attract shoppers.”

When the county council announced the introduction of the charges in 2012, councillor Alan Armitage said: “With the magnitude of the squeeze the county council is now suffering, this subsidy of car users is no longer appropriate or affordable.”

In total in the last financial year to April 2014, the county council made £1.9m from parking, a 27.5 per cent increase from the year before.

Mr Nimmo Smith said: “We don’t budget for a profit but we need the money to plough back into the roads and car parks.”

Oxford City Council, which has 779 meters in the city’s car parks, made a surplus of £3.98m on parking, a drop of £580k.

Spokeswoman Eva Green said: “The surplus was partly used to fund our capital programme, which included works such as resurfacing car parks and waterproofing Gloucester Green.”

None of the other councils could reveal how much they had received in unpaid change.

PARK-AND-RIDES

Comments (10)

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9:07am Sat 21 Jun 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

"Mr Nimmo Smith said: “We don’t budget for a profit but we need the money to plough back into the roads and car parks.” ".........
........I'd like to see some evidence of this....
"Mr Nimmo Smith said: “We don’t budget for a profit but we need the money to plough back into the roads and car parks.” "......... ........I'd like to see some evidence of this.... Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 18

10:19am Sat 21 Jun 14

Headington Jim says...

And that is why people are going elsewhere and online. The New Westgate will be an empty white elephant.
And that is why people are going elsewhere and online. The New Westgate will be an empty white elephant. Headington Jim
  • Score: 7

10:52am Sat 21 Jun 14

2tbirds says...

I live just outside of Headington and Oxford. Just far enough to require a car to get into town or to the Thornhill P&R.

I actively avoid doing business in town due to the combination of the condition of the roads, the traffic congestion and parking charges. I already pay enough tax on what I earn, what I save and what I spend. I refuse to pay the Council more for the privilege of doing business locally.

Conservative Council member David Nimmo Smith expects for people to have and to deliver the correct change to him. Shouldn't he rather be meeting the expectations of the electorate to have and to deliver some form of competence, service and value to them?
I live just outside of Headington and Oxford. Just far enough to require a car to get into town or to the Thornhill P&R. I actively avoid doing business in town due to the combination of the condition of the roads, the traffic congestion and parking charges. I already pay enough tax on what I earn, what I save and what I spend. I refuse to pay the Council more for the privilege of doing business locally. Conservative Council member David Nimmo Smith expects for people to have and to deliver the correct change to him. Shouldn't he rather be meeting the expectations of the electorate to have and to deliver some form of competence, service and value to them? 2tbirds
  • Score: 13

1:03pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

There is an easy way to solve this - give people fractional increments on parking time for their money.

For example, at Union Street, it costs:-

£1.20 to park up to 60 minutes
£1.70 to park up to 120 minutes
£2.30 to park up to 180 minutes

A reasonable organisation would give someone who paid:-

£1.50 - 60 minutes + 36 minutes "change"
£2.00 - 120 minutes + 30 minutes "change"

Essentially a pro-rata proportion in time of the over-paid value.
There is an easy way to solve this - give people fractional increments on parking time for their money. For example, at Union Street, it costs:- £1.20 to park up to 60 minutes £1.70 to park up to 120 minutes £2.30 to park up to 180 minutes A reasonable organisation would give someone who paid:- £1.50 - 60 minutes + 36 minutes "change" £2.00 - 120 minutes + 30 minutes "change" Essentially a pro-rata proportion in time of the over-paid value. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 7

2:57pm Sat 21 Jun 14

phil-g- says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
There is an easy way to solve this - give people fractional increments on parking time for their money.

For example, at Union Street, it costs:-

£1.20 to park up to 60 minutes
£1.70 to park up to 120 minutes
£2.30 to park up to 180 minutes

A reasonable organisation would give someone who paid:-

£1.50 - 60 minutes + 36 minutes "change"
£2.00 - 120 minutes + 30 minutes "change"

Essentially a pro-rata proportion in time of the over-paid value.
Yes! This is exactly what pay and display machines do in France. Seems to work fine. If you have coins for 47mins ... That's what you get.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: There is an easy way to solve this - give people fractional increments on parking time for their money. For example, at Union Street, it costs:- £1.20 to park up to 60 minutes £1.70 to park up to 120 minutes £2.30 to park up to 180 minutes A reasonable organisation would give someone who paid:- £1.50 - 60 minutes + 36 minutes "change" £2.00 - 120 minutes + 30 minutes "change" Essentially a pro-rata proportion in time of the over-paid value.[/p][/quote]Yes! This is exactly what pay and display machines do in France. Seems to work fine. If you have coins for 47mins ... That's what you get. phil-g-
  • Score: 9

11:28pm Sat 21 Jun 14

the wizard says...

I was always under the mis guided impression that the park & ride was introduced to reduce congestion, reduce pollution and take vehicles out of the city centre and to make the shopping experience better. At the same time costs incurred by the motorist were designed to attract people into Oxford. Well that didn't last long did it. Buses are still an encumbrance as are idiots on bikes are actively buzzing pedestrians as they think they have the absolute right over the walking public in pedestrian areas. Well, welcome to Oxford, NOT. And this is why less and less people come to Oxford to shop, with traffic wardens who have taken training lessons from the Gestapo, an attitude from the council which frankly stinks, profit, profit, profit, but not for the traders.

Flip the coin, and go to Witney, free parking, lots of free parking, and a police attitude that cycling in pedestrian areas is NOT tolerated. Council parking wardens who by and large act with a certain amount of discretion and the whole shopping experience becomes better. Apart from Bank Holiday traffic jams to get there, Bicester Village is also a lot more welcoming than Oxford. Cheltenham, a magnificent day out from Oxford is a whole raft more laid back and welcoming than Oxford. So well done Oxford, for fleecing the public, and turning what should be a day out into a thrombosis to the wallet. You truly do excel in shooting yourself, and your hard up long suffering traders, in the foot. If you think you are something special with your dreaming spires you are very much mistaken. Oxford, you are over the top expensive, dirty, lacking in basic facilities , and very backward in the way you welcome visitors whether tourists or shoppers. If Abingdon were to develop itself in a better manner it could eclipse Oxford as an attraction quite easily, that is how far Oxford has fallen. Dirty, dire, disgraceful and fallen a long way from its best ably assisted by a racketeering, profiteering council that is only too eager to rip off its visitors.
Oxford, you have much to learn and you have not moved with the times, time for your officials to wise up or move out.
I was always under the mis guided impression that the park & ride was introduced to reduce congestion, reduce pollution and take vehicles out of the city centre and to make the shopping experience better. At the same time costs incurred by the motorist were designed to attract people into Oxford. Well that didn't last long did it. Buses are still an encumbrance as are idiots on bikes are actively buzzing pedestrians as they think they have the absolute right over the walking public in pedestrian areas. Well, welcome to Oxford, NOT. And this is why less and less people come to Oxford to shop, with traffic wardens who have taken training lessons from the Gestapo, an attitude from the council which frankly stinks, profit, profit, profit, but not for the traders. Flip the coin, and go to Witney, free parking, lots of free parking, and a police attitude that cycling in pedestrian areas is NOT tolerated. Council parking wardens who by and large act with a certain amount of discretion and the whole shopping experience becomes better. Apart from Bank Holiday traffic jams to get there, Bicester Village is also a lot more welcoming than Oxford. Cheltenham, a magnificent day out from Oxford is a whole raft more laid back and welcoming than Oxford. So well done Oxford, for fleecing the public, and turning what should be a day out into a thrombosis to the wallet. You truly do excel in shooting yourself, and your hard up long suffering traders, in the foot. If you think you are something special with your dreaming spires you are very much mistaken. Oxford, you are over the top expensive, dirty, lacking in basic facilities , and very backward in the way you welcome visitors whether tourists or shoppers. If Abingdon were to develop itself in a better manner it could eclipse Oxford as an attraction quite easily, that is how far Oxford has fallen. Dirty, dire, disgraceful and fallen a long way from its best ably assisted by a racketeering, profiteering council that is only too eager to rip off its visitors. Oxford, you have much to learn and you have not moved with the times, time for your officials to wise up or move out. the wizard
  • Score: 11

1:28am Sun 22 Jun 14

Myron Blatz says...

Didn't you know that both County and City Councils see motorists and residents as 'Cash Cows' .....? People who live in our overcrowded towns and city need somewhere to park, so they get clobbered for residential parking, in the same way as shoppers and people going to theatre/cinema/resta
urant get totally ripped-off for parking, especially in Oxford. Nor is Park and Ride either cheap or much help for shoppers - ever tried getting your bags, shopping trolley or walking frame on a bus-full of screaming baby buggies, as their mothers ignore their kids to talk on their mobiles? As for the Westgate redevelopment and expansion, if I were John Lewis Oxfrd City Coincil and the developer would have to give me a free 99 lease, just as a 'come-on' to attract any other retailer, especially as parking will probably be very expensive, and very limited - or maybe convertred to yet more inner-city student acommodation, for which Labour-controlled City Council and its manic planning people seem so keen to promote. As for tourists buying anything more than over-priced trinkets or stuff from Poundcrazy, then you do wonder who City Council actually thinks will be spending mega-bucks in the centre of Oxford, and especially at the outrageous retail rent which is already demanded. Oxford's quality of shops may sound like chic, but usually means something quite different!
Didn't you know that both County and City Councils see motorists and residents as 'Cash Cows' .....? People who live in our overcrowded towns and city need somewhere to park, so they get clobbered for residential parking, in the same way as shoppers and people going to theatre/cinema/resta urant get totally ripped-off for parking, especially in Oxford. Nor is Park and Ride either cheap or much help for shoppers - ever tried getting your bags, shopping trolley or walking frame on a bus-full of screaming baby buggies, as their mothers ignore their kids to talk on their mobiles? As for the Westgate redevelopment and expansion, if I were John Lewis Oxfrd City Coincil and the developer would have to give me a free 99 lease, just as a 'come-on' to attract any other retailer, especially as parking will probably be very expensive, and very limited - or maybe convertred to yet more inner-city student acommodation, for which Labour-controlled City Council and its manic planning people seem so keen to promote. As for tourists buying anything more than over-priced trinkets or stuff from Poundcrazy, then you do wonder who City Council actually thinks will be spending mega-bucks in the centre of Oxford, and especially at the outrageous retail rent which is already demanded. Oxford's quality of shops may sound like chic, but usually means something quite different! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 5

1:47am Sun 22 Jun 14

Myron Blatz says...

Didn't you know that both County and City Councils see motorists and residents as 'Cash Cows' .....? People who live in our overcrowded towns and city need somewhere to park, so they get clobbered for residential parking, in the same way as shoppers and people going to theatre/cinema/resta
urant get totally ripped-off for parking, especially in Oxford. Nor is Park and Ride either cheap or much help for shoppers - ever tried getting your bags, shopping trolley or walking frame on a bus-full of screaming baby buggies, as their mothers ignore their kids to talk on their mobiles? As for the Westgate redevelopment and expansion, if I were John Lewis Oxfrd City Coincil and the developer would have to give me a free 99 lease, just as a 'come-on' to attract any other retailer, especially as parking will probably be very expensive, and very limited - or maybe convertred to yet more inner-city student acommodation, for which Labour-controlled City Council and its manic planning people seem so keen to promote. As for tourists buying anything more than over-priced trinkets or stuff from Poundcrazy, then you do wonder who City Council actually thinks will be spending mega-bucks in the centre of Oxford, and especially at the outrageous retail rent which is already demanded. Oxford's quality of shops may sound like chic, but usually means something quite different!
Didn't you know that both County and City Councils see motorists and residents as 'Cash Cows' .....? People who live in our overcrowded towns and city need somewhere to park, so they get clobbered for residential parking, in the same way as shoppers and people going to theatre/cinema/resta urant get totally ripped-off for parking, especially in Oxford. Nor is Park and Ride either cheap or much help for shoppers - ever tried getting your bags, shopping trolley or walking frame on a bus-full of screaming baby buggies, as their mothers ignore their kids to talk on their mobiles? As for the Westgate redevelopment and expansion, if I were John Lewis Oxfrd City Coincil and the developer would have to give me a free 99 lease, just as a 'come-on' to attract any other retailer, especially as parking will probably be very expensive, and very limited - or maybe convertred to yet more inner-city student acommodation, for which Labour-controlled City Council and its manic planning people seem so keen to promote. As for tourists buying anything more than over-priced trinkets or stuff from Poundcrazy, then you do wonder who City Council actually thinks will be spending mega-bucks in the centre of Oxford, and especially at the outrageous retail rent which is already demanded. Oxford's quality of shops may sound like chic, but usually means something quite different! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

11:18am Sun 22 Jun 14

Quentin Walker says...

If I needed to spend only £1, I would, out of principle, incur the extra expense of travelling to Reading to shop.

It's time the public made a stand. As is obvious from the article, the only consideration of the council is cash.
If I needed to spend only £1, I would, out of principle, incur the extra expense of travelling to Reading to shop. It's time the public made a stand. As is obvious from the article, the only consideration of the council is cash. Quentin Walker
  • Score: 2

3:25pm Sun 22 Jun 14

carli says...

it is disgusting how much profit they make. Perhaps people should be able to by tokens from the council and use those for meters?
it is disgusting how much profit they make. Perhaps people should be able to by tokens from the council and use those for meters? carli
  • Score: 1

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