Evening car parking charges to be reintroduced

Southampton City Council has announced it will be reintroducing evening car parking charges so it can manage demand and promote the use of alternative travel modes

A car driving past West Car Park, a multi-storey

The Council removed the evening charges last year to encourage shoppers and visitors back into the city after the lockdowns caused by the pandemic. However, due to an increase in visitors alongside the high residential population in the City Centre relative to the number of spaces, evening charges are being reintroduced to manage parking demand and ensure that parking facilities are available for visitors to the City Centre, while encouraging the use of alternative travel modes.

The new set of off-street tariffs, which will apply to all city centre car parks, will include an additional option to pay £1 for up to one hour and will be capped at £2, meaning that the evening parking charges have not been set at a higher rate than the previous evening tariff and in some off-street facilities, will be cheaper than pre-2021 prices. On Street Evening Charges will be as per the pre-2021 tariff.

Residents, shoppers, visitors, families, and workers can benefit from cheaper bus travel in and around the city by taking advantage of the standard £1 evening bus fare for individual riders.

The council also offers rental bikes, e-bikes and rental e-scooters which are all available to find and hire on the Breeze Journey Planner app, making it your one-stop-shop for those shorter, sustainable journeys. Bike riders are encouraged to check out Southampton’s Cycle Network to see the dedicated cycle routes that are available.

Evening parking charges will be reintroduced on Tuesday 1 November 2022.

Cabinet Member for Transport and District Regeneration, Councillor Eamonn Keogh, said:
"This isn’t a decision this administration has taken lightly, and we are aware it will frustrate a number of local residents who will now have to pay to park in the City Centre in the evenings. We have, however, identified a need to encourage a regular turnover of vehicles to enable, for example, night shift workers to easily find parking when they need it.

"The City Centre population has grown from 8,000 in the early 2000s to a projected 28,000 by 2024 and as our planning regulations limit the number of available parking spaces we need to be mindful of not encouraging unsustainable car ownership in nearby developments. We will undertake to assess the impact of the change after 4 months.

"Any surplus revenue generated from car parking charges is invested back into the roads and highways network as we look to resurface roads that are poor quality and continue our substantial highways programme which includes pothole repair and road resurfacing.

"In addition, our investment in infrastructure over the past few years enables more people to travel by bus and to feel safer if they are walking or cycling, which we know is important to many of our residents and workers commuting into the city."

The SO card, operated by GO! Southampton is another cost-saving initiative that can help residents and visitors to enjoy the shops, cafes, restaurants, and small businesses we have in our city. Head to Visit Southampton for more information and to access your free card without having to register or download a thing.

In addition, the Southampton Cycle Network means people can cycle to the City Centre safely from all directions including as far out as Eastleigh and the New Forest.