UK drivers are spending an average of 44 hours per year trying to find parking spaces. In the worst cases, drivers are losing as much as 67 hours every year. That’s according to research by INRIX Parking. INRIX states that the time and fuel wasted on the hunt for that illusive space means that every driver in effect pays out £733 per year for the privilege. That adds up to a whopping £23 billion.

Parking pains

The worst area for parking pain is London, with drivers spending up to 67 hours and £1,100 a year trying to park. At the other end of the spectrum is Southampton, with drivers spending on average 35 hours and £588 per year.

To add insult to injury, drivers are also wasting money by overpaying for parking because they are afraid of receiving a ticket if they accidentally outstay their booking. The practice means that motorists are booking 45 hours of extra time per year that (in most cases) ends up being unused. The impact on the nation’s wallets? Another £209 per motorist, totalling an additional £6.7 billion per year. Dr Graham Cookson, Chief Economist at INRIX told The Sun,

“If we add up all the costs in this research, so the time spent searching for a space, the amount drivers overpay for parking and the amount spent in fines, the ‘total’ cost of parking pain in the UK is more than £30 billion a year. This cost is not only borne by drivers but also by local economies as people avoid shops due to parking issues.”

Car parking catastrophe

While the issue represents a major headache for motorists, in extreme cases the situation can prove catastrophic. For instance, doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of Wales are currently facing a collective bill of over £12.8 million from Indigo Parking. The medical staff decided to veto paying Indigo’s car park tickets for the hospital car park because they believed that they should be provided with enough spaces by the NHS to park at work.

After Indigo took legal action, though, the courts found in favour of the company. This has left the NHS staff personally liable for the 100,000-plus tickets accrued. While opinion is divided about whether the staff should have taken such an action in the first place, it reflects a far wider and more pressing issue about being able to find a parking space near your place of work.

In the case of the NHS, it’s an issue that could end up costing lives if staff are late for work or, worse still, decide to leave the public sector altogether. One nurse affected by the court ruling posted on Facebook:

“We are probably going to have to sell our family home. I have decided to leave the NHS. I cannot continue working for someone who doesn’t support their employees.”

There’s an app for that

The stakes are increasingly high, but is there anything drivers can do to tackle the great British parking problem? Thankfully, yes! Drivers are increasingly turning to ‘smart parking’ apps such as JustPark, which allow them to locate and book available spaces in their area via smartphone.

Inevitably, these service don’t offer the ability to book council-owned, on-street parking in advance. Instead, they work in tandem with privately operated off-street parking and even private owners of unused driveways, all offered at rates that often undercut council parking charges.

The ideal solution, though, is knowing there is an on-street parking space available wherever you are, much like sourcing a definitive fuel price in your area using PetrolPrices. While such parking flexibility might seem like a pipe dream, Stockholm-based Easy Park believes its product may well be the next best thing. Targeted for release in the UK in 2018, the firm claims its app will help drive down the time it takes to uncover a parking space in urban areas.

By using crowd-sourced location and parking payment data, the app’s Find and Pay feature is able to offer motorists a parking probability map surrounding their destination. The app displays a route to the destination featuring the streets around it that have the highest probability of a parking space being available.

Ultimately, it is becoming increasingly clear that something needs to be done to stop drivers wasting time and money on something as mundane as parking their cars. While public transport is one solution, perhaps it will be technology that finally slashes the time – and money – it takes to find and secure that precious parking space.

Take advantage of our JustPark offer

Meanwhile, do you have an unused parking space? Do you want to earn extra cash for nothing? It’s simple to do with JustPark. Rent out your parking space and you can earn up to £1,000 a year.  Sign up and rent your parking space through us and you’ll also receive up to £60 fuelback too.

Could councils be doing more to help motorists find parking spaces? Or do private car park companies now have an increasing grip on parking nationwide? Let us know your views below.

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