Why wouldn't you pay for parking?

This weekend I took the bike out for a spin and needed to park the bike so I could grab a bite. I found a spot that I had to pay. It was “fairly” secure, with a barrier and a few CCTV cameras I could spot. Yes yes I know nothing is truly secure, that a seasoned thief would get to it if they wanted the risk. But my thinking was well its much better than just leaving it on the side of the street not chained to anything, i.e. make it difficult to steal as opposed to offering it on a platter.

So it had me thinking as I know parking is a popular discussion in this forum, but most complain that they struggle to find parking and for bikes it should be free.

So my question is, why? why do you think it should be free, even in the case when there is more security than just a simple bike bay.

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I’m probably not your target audience, as I’m not against paying, but I was until a few years ago.
I think it’s largely due to getting free parking in most places means you expect it elsewhere, so the outliers who charge are seen as doing a bad thing.


I agree, especially in places with limited parking. Then again I’ve been to places that charge disabled drivers so yeh

Reasons it should be free:

  • Motorcycling is a solution to congested roads etc, so should be encouraged by the likes of free parking
  • Often car parks are outdated and don’t differentiate between cars and bikes, even expecting you to pay the same or use a pay & display sticky ticket to put on your bike… a) bikes take up way less space than cars and b) where can you leave a ticket visible on a bike and not have it blown away or pinched?
  • Would the extra security barriers, CCTV and guard really stop a bike thief? Are they really going to thwart a crime in progress to protect your bike because you paid £2 to park there? Or is it just the illusion of some extra security?
  • Motorbikes take up minimal extra space compared to bicycles and they’re free…

Reasons to Pay:

  • They’ve fitted a ground anchor or similar you can chain to
  • Because there’s nowhere else nearby for free, so you’ve got no choice
  • They’re charging a sensible amount for the small footprint of a bike and you don’t need to leave a Pay & Display ticket on the bike (or I’ll be occupying one full car space to get my money’s worth thankyou)

Who are ‘they’ that is charging? If its a private land owner putting bread on the table by renting out parking spaces on their land and the charges are reasonable then why not. If its the local council charging for on street parking then NO.

Example - Back in 1968 when London Underground’s Victoria Line opened along with it came a city motor traffic parking problem around Walthamstow Central Underground and Bus Station. The newly formed LB Waltham Forest’s solution was to make the area within ¼ mile of the station residents only parking and permits were issued and charged for at the cost of the admin. Over the years the residents only parking area has become a Controlled Parking Zone and revenue stream with higher and higher costs for permits and the Controlled Parking Zones have been spread right across the borough.

Current Controlled Parking Zone permit costs in Waltham Forest are:
Resident motorcycle permit £40 to £160
Resident motor car permit £40 to £600
Business motor car permit £265 to £1,650

Given what motorists already pay by way of taxes on motoring costs and the Council Taxes paid by residents and businesses charging to park a vehicle outside your own home, business or place of work is nothing less than outrageous.

@Arfa not to go off topic, but if I am to play devils advocate for a little, I am not 100% convinced that motorcycling is a solution to congestion. Only for the reason of other cities and countries I have visited where motorcycles and scooters are more common and the result is simply a different type of congestion. 20 motorcycles in the space of 5 cars all trying to bob and weave and those places I would hate to ride. But that is a whole other conversation :grin:

Would security barriers and CCTV stop a thief, prob not but will defo discourage. When I have been to NCP car parks I see bikes parked some with chains others without, so either they are happy with the level of deterrence or have enough to buy another.

@National_Treasure Council charging for street level parking yeah I get that. But is the argument that bikes should not pay or that no vehicle should pay the council to park given all the other taxes we pay ? Also is that £160 per month or year ??

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Yeah, going off topic, but the following research indicated that a modest switch of car drivers to motorcycling would drastically ease congestion and so should be encouraged:

Just think what the countries you visited with a high amount of motorcycle/scooter congestion would be like if most of those people were in cars…

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No vehicle should pay.
All permit costs are per 12 months

I used to pay to park the car when I briefly owned one living in London - I never had a problem with it, it was negligible in the running cost of the car and seems fair enough that the council take some money for providing parking. Otherwise you are asking for non drivers to subsidise drivers, which doesn’t seem particularly fair. It was probably around £160 per year (not that I needed it for that long

Bike parking was free in Wandsworth pretty much everywhere, although I had a small front yard that I could park the bike on anyway.

The high cost of ‘free’ parking is a subject concerning all town planners at the moment. Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as free parking.

The seminal book on the subject is American, and takes USA examples, but the dynamics are the same elsewhere. Here is a quick summary of the book.

Off-street parking spaces in my neighbourhood go for between £2,000 to £3,000 per annum.

I can park a normal sized family car on a Residents’ Bay for ~£160 per annum, thanks to a council which is giving away >£2,000 in potential revenue.

Surely what you mean is you can buy a permit for a residents bay. Whether or not you can then actually park in the bay depends on how busy it is. With the offroad option it should be a guaranteed space.

Yes, of course. In a previous flat I used Residents’ Permits and was always able to park; just not always immediately outside my door. The point stands, the permit system in no way compensates for the opportunity cost of land usage.

This article gives an idea of what this land is worth in pounds shillings and pence. Yet the council gives this away for a token, not even covering their costs in administering the system.