Parking price hikes at Greater Anglia stations 'a kick in the teeth'
Angry commuters have branded price hikes at Suffolk and Essex railway station car parks a "kick in the teeth" - after some leapt up by as much as 25%.
It now costs £2,000 for a yearly parking ticket at Ipswich station – that’s up 11% on the 2018 price, which set passengers back £1,804.
This is one of the highest charges in our region, as shown in the table below.
On average, yearly tickets now cost 11% more at mainline stations in Suffolk and north Essex, including Stowmarket, Manningtree and Colchester than they did in 2018.
Monthly prices at Marks Tey have gone up 25% from £32 to £40.
And for those travelling on the network every day, the hikes – rolled out this month alongside a 3.4% rise in train ticket fares – are the “last straw”.
Why have prices gone up?
Most car parks in the Greater Anglia network are run by NCP, but the rail operator sets the prices.
Bosses say they are pumping £25million into improving car parks at the company’s stations – and some prices have been frozen, while others have gone up or down.
The new fares came into force earlier this month, alongside a rise in train fares.
Greater Anglia provides a more in-depth guide to prices at your nearest station on its website.
“We are currently investing £25m on improving car parks at our stations, including installing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) at 20 car parks, adding 1,782 spaces, filling LED lights, improving CCTV, security, and resurfacing,” a company spokesman said.
“Prices are set to ensure that when a passenger drives to a station they have the best chance of finding a space in good time to catch their train.
“We’re also making it easier for people to use other transport including buses, bikes or walking to use our stations – including providing over 9,000 free cycle spaces.”
A total of £1.5million is being invested in Manningtree station this year, the spokesman added.
Car park price hikes ‘final straw’ for commuters
“To jack prices up like this is a kick in the teeth,” said commuter and Essex rail user group chairman Derek Monnery.
“For most people these increases are not affordable and people will struggle to pay.
“It’s the last straw for us commuters. I go past Mistley and there are cars parked all the way down the road because people can’t afford these prices.
“How can they expect people to shell out £2,000 to park?
“It’s a big dent in most people’s salaries, when you add it to the more expensive rail fares.”
Another frequent passenger from Colchester, who did not want to be named, said: “I think it’s unfair because no improvements have been made to the car park.
“If you add that to the 3% rise in fares, it’s as if someone is trying to make it too difficult for people to commute.”
Better deal for rail passengers on horizon, claims MP
Witham MP Priti Patel, in her role as chair of the Great Eastern Mainline taskforce, claimed commuters are being “held hostage” to high car parking charges.
“The increase in parking charges is concerning and a further cost on commuters on top of the rail fare rises,” she said.
“Commuters continue to be squeezed hard but are not getting the services that they need.
“Many commuters have no bus service or public transport option to get to rail stations and therefore have no other choice than to drive.
“They are held hostage to these charges and I fully understand the unfairness that commuters feel.
She added: “I am lobbying Greater Anglia, Network Rail and the Department for Transport to deliver a better deal for commuters and improved value for money.”