One in seven give employers an unpaid hour a day
More than one in seven who drive to work may be giving their employers an unpaid extra half day every week. So intense is the battle for a parking space that 15% turn up more than an hour early and don’t get time in lieu if they start work straight away.
A further 25% arrive anything up to an hour earlier than their start time, an AA-Populus survey responded to by 24,739 AA members reveals.
Even before they get to work, 36% are worrying that they may not have anywhere to park when they get there. The latest National Travel Survey for England shows that 65% of commuting is done by car.
The chance to take a break from work by driving off for lunch is lost to 37% of workers because they fear not being able to park when they return.
Worst areas for workplace parking paranoia are London, the West Midlands and the North East.
Among London drivers, 46% worry about where they are going to park when they get to work, while in the West Midlands and the North East 38% fret as they commute.
Almost a quarter (24%) of London car commuters who park at work turn up an hour or more early, compared to 17% in the West Midlands.
Most relaxed areas for workplace parking are East Anglia and Yorkshire and Humberside. Even so, respectively, 31% and 34% of their car commuters who park at work are anxious as they drive in. Pressure to turn up an hour or more early is least in East Anglia at 10% and Scotland at 12%.
Lower-income drivers feel most pressure to arrive at work at least an hour before they are contracted to do so. Among semi-skilled and unskilled manual and service workers, 17% say that parking pressures force them to spend the equivalent of an extra half day at week at work – without time off to compensate if they choose to start early.
Car-sharing schemes and better provision of public transport may help to alleviate parking pressure at work, for example ‘park and ride’ and trams. Local authority monitoring of parking demand and provision would also help, such as more long stay parking for businesses and shoppers to boost the local economy.
Failure to do so has gradually increased the squeeze on residential areas from commuter parking. Increasing Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) has just snowballed the problem with some car commuters parking ever further out from their workplace.
Employers can explore other options, such as safe parking to encourage bicycles and motor bikes. Home working, a practice successfully used by the AA to support its roadside operations, and split shifts also provide alternatives.
Encouraging car-sharing schemes or pushing for better public transport provision shows an acceptance of responsibility, rather than leaving their workers to drive round and round the car park in growing frustration while the bosses have their own reserved spaces
Edmund King, AA president
“There is probably little difference between workers whose public transport timetables deliver them to work 20 or 30 minutes early and their colleagues who drive in at the same time. However, having to turn up an hour or more early to get a parking space, rather than just beating the rush-hour traffic, must add to the mental burden on commuters and impact on their work,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“Good employers keep an eye on parking availability for their workers and, when pressure on spaces increases, may go to the local authority if some outside influence such as another company’s expansion starts to make life hell for their employees. Local authorities providing more long-term parking can help, although it doesn’t seem to be one of their top priorities. Perhaps that will change if proposals to give them the proceeds of business rates go ahead.
“Encouraging car-sharing schemes or pushing for better public transport provision shows an acceptance of responsibility, rather than leaving their workers to drive round and round the car park in growing frustration while the bosses have their own reserved spaces.”
(8 October 2015)
Populus received 24,739 responses from AA members to its online poll between 14 and 22 September 2015.