A new study by short-term insurance provider, Veygo, has revealed that if you’re looking to let the train take the strain, you could be charged as much as £40 PER DAY to park your car in the station car park. In a typical working year (less weekends and holiday), that could equate to as much as £9,000.
Of course that’s with a London weighting, surely once you get outside of London, things are much cheaper? Selly Oaks in the West Midlands has free parking, as does Kirkby in Merseyside, and you’ll pay just £2.40 for a whole day of parking in Benfleet, Essex.
However, Reading station charge £25 per day, Glasgow and Edinburgh charge £24 & £22 respectively, and Manchester Piccadilly want £21 for a day’s parking. Cheap at almost half the price of St. Pancras.
We’re forever being told that we should use mass transit or public transportation to help the environment, and aside from the argument that in most cases, it really isn’t that great or reliable, we need to factor in costs.
Rail fares are due to be increased again in January, which will push the average price of a season ticket up by a further £100, which also means for the first time ever, average prices will be above £3,000.
Add in a extra few thousand pounds for parking, and you have yourself the potential to buy a cleaner, greener vehicle that’s capable of transporting you and your family, with shopping or luggage to the exact destination you wish to be.
Whether you agree or disagree with the left-leaning politics, there’s an argument to be made regarding nationalising mass transit, just to stamp out the blatant profiteering and extortion from the privately-owned companies behind the networks.
It doesn’t matter who is in power, or whether you believe that mass transit will never be the solution that’s required, surely, if the authorities want to promote the use of this kind of transport, they should do more to subsidise passenger costs, or even implement regulations to prevent the disparity throughout the country.
Charging by popularity rather than actual cost makes a great business case, but effectively, the authorities are promoting the use of these networks, and the network operators are benefitting hand-over-fist thanks to this coercion. Shouldn’t something be done?
Yes, there’s an argument that real estate prices need to be accounted for, you’d expect some discrepancy between the Southern areas and those further North, but £9,000 difference is greed, pure and simple.
Most expensive rail car parks
Of course, we could leave the car at home, walk or cycle to the station if we’re young and fit enough, but that’s a solution for the minority, not the majority. After a quick search, for me to travel to London early morning, and back early evening, I’d be looing at £141 for the rail fare, and a further £12 to park – £153 against a rough cost of £50 (inc ULEZ and Congestion).
Is it really that surprising that passengers are choosing their car over rail travel? A third of the price, with all of the convenience. Add in a family and the differences really stack up.
Despite some protestations in other articles, I’m all for trying to help reduce air pollution, live a cleaner lifestyle and reduce my carbon footprint, but if I had to do that three times a week, it would be cheaper to rent a room than travel, and that just can’t be right.
Top 10 car parks
The top ten most expensive (outside of London) and cheapest rail car parks are:
- Reading – £25.00
- Glasgow Central – £24.00
- Edinburgh – £22.00
- Manchester Piccadilly – £21.00
- Sheffield – £19.00
- Liverpool Lime St – £18.70
- York – £17.00
- Newcastle – £17.00
- Peterborough – £15.00
- Leicester – £14.50
- Derby – £14.50
- Stockport – £14.50
- Durham – £14.50
- Bristol Temple Meads – £14.30
- Selly Oak – Free
- Kirkby – Free
- Benfleet – £2.40
- Paisley Gilmour St – £3.00
- Stirling – £3.50
- Gillingham – £5.10
- Hull – £5.20
- Cheltenham Spa – £5.20
- Eastbourne – £5.30
- Chichester – £5.30
- Luton – £5.60
- Walton-On-Thames – £5.70
- Ashford International – £5.80
In the interest of fairness, it’s worth pointing out that along with travel season tickets, a number of the station car parks also offer parking season tickets, which could reduce the charge significantly – Reading station for example offer a season ticket for ‘just’ £1,850, which could see a saving of around £3,775 over standard rates.
But of course, that begs the question … if they can offer parking for that cheaper price, and still make a profit, why are they blatantly ripping off other motorists?
What are your thoughts? Should the government step in and regulate the prices? Are the station operators just being greedy? Let us know in the comments.
“Grately Railway Station, Hampshire.” by Mike Cattell is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Parking at a station has hidden costs e.g. I transposed my car number and finally had to pay £100 yes disgusting. Just because I appealed the price kept going up. Never again
Likewise – Leighton Buzzard station now has two car parks, both of which are operated by Saba. If you look on their app, there is Leighton Buzzard Station Car Park and another called some other road. So naturally you choose the station one that appears in exactly the right spot. Wrong. So £15 to pay for parking in a different car park (25 yards away and also operated by them) and £60 fine. Appeal rejected out of hand (despite clearly no intent to skip payment), but the right to have this reviewed by an industry body (who I can’t imagine has ever, ever, ever ruled in favour of anyone but their members) with the proviso that if that rejects the claim I would have to pay £120.. Yeah, when an honest mistake is penalised like this, it really doesn’t make you want to go back.
Keep fighting this. I won a case like this because I had paid for parking, I just made an error with filling the app.
Nothing to do with rail station parking – just the same would happen at any other charged car park.
At Derby Station EMR even charge you 50 pence for the privlage of picking up one of their customers
This is a truly appalling and hugely misleading article! Clearly written by someone who is very London-centric.
Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley are CITY CENTRE stations and no one in their right mind would ever think to drive to them and then get a train. In almost all of Strathclyde – that’s the large region surrounding Glasgow – parking at the rail station is FREE. Use park-and-ride to get to the city centre. In a few places, parking is charged to ensure that spaces are available for rail passengers but the cost is taken off the cost of the rail travel ticket bought at the same time.
Totally agree… title says pay up to £40.00 – yet number 1 in the list is £25.00 to pay. May as well have said pay up to £100 and still put £25.00 at Reading top of the list. That’s life these days… you want something then you have to pay for it (unless you are a criminal or MP of course!)
The article isn’t very clear but by careful interpretation I believe the £40 figure quoted is for St Pancras, i.e. inner London, the list is composed of stations located outside of London.
Rix000. Very fair point. Echoes my own reaction entirely. As a journo. with a degree of intellect, why would you expect a rail traveller to “drive a car to St Pancras”. Surely London is over-run with public transport options that could enable ready access from somewhere close to home to reach St Pancras.
For me, I’m obliged to acknowledge that where I have chosen to live, public transport is not readily viable. I could even seek a concessionary bus pass. I even have a splendid bus shelter 50 yards from home, but a bus service such as it was , hourly, not before 8:30 and not after 5:30, was removed nearly 2 years ago, and now the nearest is 4 miles away.
Bizarrely I’m only 5 miles away from a station where people commute 110 miles/1hr 15 mins to London, and where parking nearby can be as little as £60 per month
Who parks at St Pancras? Surely you take the tube there or if hard pushed an Uber. Reading, fair enough. The zone 8 station I use charges £6 per day. This has been snuck up from £4 over the last 5 years. Way over the rate of inflation.
It was an interesting article but yes misleading. We always look up Park and Ride on a day out to a city centre as not only is it hugely cheaper but it also takes the stress out of trying to find a cheap carpark near the centre. Online apps are not always clear and only give a road name so you have to second guess and I always avoid the sation carpark. Long live Park and Ride, where available, of course.
It’s not London centric when this happens all over the country. Public transport is a joke in Manchester and they get away with the train station parking charge because they have a captive audience.
From where I live, the bus takes four times longer than driving (an hour vs 15 mins) plus a 10 minute walk on top from the bus station. The nearest station with a free carpark is half an hour in the wrong direction plus an eight quid tram fare so it’s easy to see why driving is the only option if your commute is already pretty long once you get on the train.
In Manchester you can park for £8 just 10 minutes walk from the station or around £4 if you can prebook using an app and can walk 15 minutes. Alternatively if you can’t walk then a taxi each way might well be cheaper than the car park. Hooray for Uber because I definitely didn’t feel safe on my own in a taxi in Manchester before Uber came along. For some though, £21 for parking is the only realistic option which is frankly ridiculous.
Bow ~ if you can say where you live (roughly!) and where you go to in Manchester, a solution to your travel problems can be offered. Over to you!
If reading is £24 where does the headline of £40 a day come from
If reading is number 1 at £24 where does the headline of £40 a day come from
London, the rip-off capital of the UK. God knows why there is such an attraction to London? Okay, pay may be higher, but so are the charges! Give me Northern England any time of the day!
Ha, you want to live in Sevenoaks Kent, everything is expensive in this town even a pint 🍺 beer is dearer than London in one of the Thames pubs. A ship lap/clapboard cottage sells in excess of £400,000
On the other hand, parking at the NEC is £14. I parked on the street one stop away by train and spent £1.65 on a return train fare. Horses for courses.
All parking should be free no matter where. If stations or shopping centres want you to use there facilities then they must provide free parking. Parking is just profiteering. How many car parks have you been in with terrible lighting and parking bays! Plus you pay for parking but they don’t accept responsibility. Sorry if you provide this so called service at premium prices then you are fully liable for damages.
Just another of the joys of owning a car and there are many more similar ones .So stop moaning or sell your car and try walking once again
I regularly park for Crewe station, Virgin charges £12 per day and the 525 spaces are nearly all taken every working day. that’s an income of around £42,000 a week!! But if you are willing to walk, 10 to 15 minutes away there is free parking. Guess what I do?
It costs £17.30 to park at Southampton Parkway for the day. Why is this station not on the list?
Nice little earner for everyone at the expense of us all. And this type of exploitation, and abuse, inter alia, will only get worse with time. No government is prepared to debate openly the causes of this and other over-crowding issues, all of which contribute to a partial collapse of our infra-structure.
Neither will these myopic politicians plan to ameliorate the problems by reducing transport fares and increase facilities to encourage massively greater use of public transport; and that should include ease of public transport to stations.
Investing in HS2 is not a high-priority solution, but increasing conventional public transport throughout the UK is. These politicians are either terminally myopic or just plain self-serving. I strongly suspect both apply with high levels of distinction!
Some transport minister needs to sort it all out, if he or she has the wits. Desirably encouraging station parkers may exacerbate train overcrowding. So that needs attention too. So do rail fares which are too high in this digital age. Parking in general, is a sore topic. Instead of being a sinecure gold mine for the owners, the charge should relate to the local land costs plus the operating costs, to include regular, neat maintenance, plus a demonstrable, moderate profit.
Jamie, are you American? It’s public transport and property here in the UK, not transportation and real estate.