Bank holiday parking

Sales shoppers will be pummelled by Boxing Day parking confusion

26 December 2011

Sales shoppers will be pummelled by Boxing Day parking confusion

Sales shoppers will be pummelled by Boxing Day parking confusion

Festive cheer will run out from Boxing Day onwards as sales shoppers face bank holiday parking signs confusion.  Getting it wrong could add a penalty of up to £130 to the cost of Christmas, the AA warns.

Half of drivers say they are often confused by parking restriction signs, rising to 60% in London, leaving them vulnerable to £70 tickets outside London and up to £130 on yellow lines in the centre of the capital.  This compares with a Christmas spend of less than £200 for a lower-income UK family - 12% of whom have misunderstood parking signs and been fined in the past two years, AA Populus research shows.

Monday 26th December, Tuesday 27th December and Monday 2 January 2012 (plus Tuesday 3rd in Scotland) are bank holidays, but that does not automatically mean free or unrestricted parking unless signs and information boards clearly state this is the case.

The AA is warning drivers not to be lulled into believing parking charges and restrictions won’t apply.  It is also urging local councils to ensure they inform drivers of the parking rules over the holiday period rather than dish out parking tickets.

In the AA Populus poll, 13% admit to getting a parking ticket as a direct result of their parking sign confusion, in London that figure rises to 23%.   The AA is urging drivers to be cautious and check if weekday parking restrictions apply.

many drivers get parking tickets due to the complexity of the rules and confusing signs

Edmund King, AA president


Edmund King, AA President, said: “It is clear that many drivers get parking tickets due to the complexity of the rules and confusing signs.  At this time of year, with three bank holidays, the potential for error is even greater.

“Parking will be at a premium with the sales on and we know from our polls that the cost of parking is a very important factor in trips into town.   During the sales, parking space pressure, confusion over bank holiday parking rules and parking costs, may make park and ride an alternative.  Drivers can save money and frustration in letting the park and ride bus deal with all that fuss.  Drivers should also consider using the AA Parking App or AA Routeplanner to locate the best car parks.”

Cost comparisons

Cheaper parking on the outskirts of a town and/or the bus fare into the town centre can at least halve the cost of a trip to the sales.  Examples:

Portsmouth - Park and ride and bus trip = £2.50 per car versus £6.20 for six hours parking in town centre + £1.20 driving cost. Saving £4.90

York - Park and ride parking free, return bus trip for two adults with children under 16 free = £4.60 versus £10 for six hours parking in town centre + £1.20 driving cost. Saving £6.60

With a small car typically losing 1.5p a minute for every minute it is stationary with the engine running, and 1.7p for a small family car, finding a parking space quickly could cut the cost of the first hour’s parking significantly.

Finding parking spaces

To help find parking and cut down on idling time, motorists can use the AA Parking app.  With this app, for iPhone and Android, motorists have the option to search for car parks using their current location or by entering an address.   The search will find the closest car parks, give details of charges and opening hours, as well as providing drivers with directions.   A function for checking for space availability in real-time is also available for car parks that provide this data.

Powered by data from Parkopedia, the AA Parking app is not just for town centre car parks, the app also gives details of Park and Ride locations for those who want to avoid town centre driving.

For those without Smartphones the AA can still help.  The AA Routeplanner has details of car parks available by selecting the ‘Parking’ icon on the route map.

Survey results

How often would you say you are confused by parking restriction signs on public streets?

  • Often 50%
  • Not very often 44%
  • Never  5%

Regional breakdown (often confused)                                               

  • London  60%                            
  • South 52%                            
  • Anglia 48%                            
  • Yorks/Humber 48%                            
  • W Mids 48%                            
  • Scotland 48%                            
  • NE 47%
  • NI 47%
  • SW 46%
  • Wales 46%
  • E Mids 46%
  • NW 45%

Over the two past years have you ever received a parking ticket on a public street because you misunderstood a restriction sign(s)?

Yes 13% (18-24 age group 17%, 25-34 age group 16%, 65+ age group 10%)

Regional (Yes have received a ticket because of sign confusion)

  • London 23%                            
  • Yorks/Humber 12%                            
  • Scotland 11%
  • NW 11%
  • South 11%                            
  • NI 11%
  • E Mids 11%
  • SW 10%
  • W Mids 10%                            
  • Wales 9%
  • Anglia 9%                              
  • NE 8%

Importance of parking cost on trips made

  • Into town 81% important (46% very)
  • Big event 69% important (31% very)
  • Seaside 62% important (25% very)
  • Holiday/short break 68% important (32% very)

(updated 1 February 2012)