Lancashire's 'wrong charge' parking bill

A reliance on cards and mobile payments means less people carry cash
A reliance on cards and mobile payments means less people carry cash

Drivers across the UK waste nearly £2.2 billion every year because they don’t have the right change to pay for parking, reveals new research from Churchill Car Insurance.

A reliance on cards and mobile payments means less people carry cash, which helps explain why just under two thirds (62 per cent) overpay for parking because they don’t have the correct change.

Of the Lancashire drivers who use paid-for car parking, the majority overpay on their parking costs, spending an extra £1.81 a week (nearly £100 a year). This amounts to an extra 52.5 minutes per week.

Nationally, the average amount overpaid is £2.68 per week, working out at £139.36 every year per person. ‘Over spenders’ are buying more than an hour’s extra time every week that they do not need. Parking costs £1.33 per hour on average across the UK, although an hour in London will set drivers back on average £1.81 compared to Scotland where it is just 98p an hour. Drivers aged 18-34 waste a substantial £211.64 a year (£4.07 a week) while those over 55 overpay by £60.32 a year (£1.16 a week).

The research also found drivers are forking out millions a year on parking fines. On average, those who have been fined spend £29.96 a year paying off parking tickets, working out at £223 million collectively across the UK every year. When combined with the amount wasted because of the wrong change, British drivers are individually unnecessarily wasting nearly £148 every year on parking.

Steve Barrett, head of Car Insurance at Churchill said: “Spending an extra £2.68 a week may not sound like a huge amount but it soon mounts up, with drivers throwing nearly £140 away every year. That’s enough for a family day out or to make a decent dent on household bills. In an age of contactless payment machines it is a shame that drivers are still being short changed because they simply do not have the correct change. Car parking companies and local councils should further embrace contactless technology and parking apps to make paying for parking as easy as possible.”

Those who pay for parking spend £7.10 on average per week or £369.20 each year. Across the UK, £180 million is spent every week to pay for parking or £9.3 billion every year. Drivers aged 18-34 spend three times the amount that drivers over the age of 55 do on parking each week (£11.26 vs £3.63), while those in London fork out nearly six times the amount paid by Welsh drivers (£16.15 vs. £2.84).

The aspect of parking which annoys people the most is when they have to pay to park in places like hospitals, which many feel shouldn’t charge for parking (68 per cent). This, as well as being forced to pay for more time than needed (49 per cent) and the overall cost of parking (45 per cent) make up the top three parking annoyances.