Did you know that according to the BPA (British Parking Association), four days a year in our lives are spent looking for a parking space, and a third of our lives are spent driving?
With the challenges Lewes has to offer, I think these figures must be based solely on our county town! Once we have navigated through what seems to be a plethora of roadworks in every direction, the tedious task of securing a spot awaits us.
Up to two hours of ‘free’ parking is offered by Tesco with its 370 spaces. Aldi and Waitrose offer one-and-a-half hours, but woe betides those of you who should exceed these limits and incur the £70 penalty charges. Laura Ashley is a whole different ball game. Clearly, however, it does demonstrate that they value the importance of their customers enough to encourage parking in situ.
Alas, the same cannot be said for the less than adequate pay and display spaces supplied by ESCC and LDC. The insufficient and overpriced areas barely support the commercial infrastructure they are so keen to extol, especially during the lead-up to Christmas.
The privately-owned railway station car park goes one step further in its bah humbug mindset by charging the same for half an hour as for 24 hours – £6.60, by the way.
I do question why local businesses haven’t challenged this, bearing in mind the length of time cinemagoers, for example, need to park. There seems to be little or no flexibility in the town, to encourage the influx of the shopaholics, social butterflies or dining connoisseurs amongst us. Okay, so I confess to being all three.
More relevantly, I can hear all the ‘workers’ screaming at this. What about the daily cost of parking between the hours of 8 am-6 pm? For this very reason, car sharing or car pooling is on the up. Lift-sharing addresses all the negatives already highlighted, and drivers realise the positive potential of doing so. It is generally considered for long commutes, but why not make it work locally?
Larger companies frequently allocate prime car-share spaces, but how about setting aside specific areas to be applied for by car-sharers? This would surely disperse the spaces and dilute the requirement somewhat?
According to the Office for National Statistics – don’t groan, this is an interesting fact – 15.3 million people in England and Wales drive themselves to work each day while only 1.4 million travel as passengers. Worth thinking about when we are sat in our empty cars queuing to get through the Culfail at 5 pm.
Apparently, lift-sharing is becoming the equivalent to bridge clubs on commuter trains. Like-minded people are making the best of a tiresome journey.
True, there is also an efficient public transport system feeding the area, and we are not averse to using taxis and Ubers (who also do UberPool), but on a day-to-day basis, what we need is more affordable charges and an increase in parking spaces.
Has anyone tried the Justpark app? This offers centrally-located parking – usually someone’s driveway – for a fraction of the cost the local authorities want to sting us for. Parkopedia is another excellent way to source both spaces and their cost, close to your desired destination. There are Apps for car-sharing too, but perhaps this should be the end of my public service announcement for today.