Hackney Council has introduced a new minimum short stay period for parking to encourage public transport use.
Previously, car users could pay as little as 20p to park in Hackney. The minimum cost will now be £2, a third more than a single bus journey.
Although shorter minimum periods of 15 or 30 minutes were considered, the charges weren’t high enough to ensure that public transport would be cheaper.
Councillor Met Coban, Hackney’s cabinet member for transport, hopes that this new minimum stay of 1 hour will make drivers “think much more carefully about whether driving represents the best value for money choice when travelling into Hackney”.
He said: “For the first time it will no longer be cheaper for people to drive and park for short trips than it will be to take the same journey by public transport.”
Currently, 24 per cent of all parking sessions in Hackney are bought for less than 1 hour, with sessions as short as 2 minutes available through the RingGo app, which is used by 98 per cent of customers, and 10 minutes from pay and display machines.
A reduction of 30 per cent in short-duration car journeys is anticipated, which will contribute towards reducing congestion and pollution.
The reduced short stay parking may also make it easier for the elderly and blue badge holders, who are more reliant on cars, to find available parking.
Coban highlighted that the council cannot legally use parking to create an income for general expenditure. The council uses any additional funds in its parking account to contribute towards the London-wide Freedom Pass scheme, highways maintenance costs and school transport.
The charges will be enforced by civil enforcement officers, with increased patrols in areas where drivers are more likely to risk not paying for parking.
However, the council recognised that local circumstances may make this minimum period impractical and so will authorise the Head of Parking, Markets and Street Trading to make any necessary adjustments.
With a minimum stay of 1 hour, Hackney will have the longest minimum stay in London car parks, followed by Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith & Fulham, Croydon and Bexley, all with thirty minute minimum stays.