Today I made my usual weekly visit to Manchester to call on some premises just off Great Ancoats Street. I needed to spend a little more time than usual so I needed to park for longer. Initially I chose to park in on-street parking bay on Port Street and went to the machine to pay. At this point I noticed that a well surfaced vacant lot owned by a private company was offering pay and display parking at £1.00 per hour. Comparing this with the meter price of 2.70 per hour from our forward thinking city council, I quickly moved the car into the space most likely to benefit private enterprise directly.
This explained why every meter bay on Port Street was empty. Market economics has finally caught up with a greedy local authority as property owners realise that there is money to be made by undercutting the council’s outrageous prices. In the last year MCC have extended charging to Sundays and Bank Holidays as well as lengthening the chargeable period of the day until 8pm ( previously 6pm). Looking at the zone map also reveals that the council has stealthily changed the zoning of the charging too. ( Guess in whose favour…. and it ain’t yours!)
Over the last decade or so, Manchester (as well as many other local authorities) has continued to wage war on the private car owner whilst becoming hooked on the revenue that parking brings. It is no surprise to see businesses depart from the city centre and retail footfall decamp to car friendly out of town centres.
Manchester City Council’s website has a page with the title “Where to park”, I am surprised it doesn’t have directions to the Trafford Centre. Another gem from the council’s website boasts:
Manchester, a great city to do business
Enterprise, innovation and attitude are what made Manchester the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the world class city it is now; world class to live, visit, work, study and, critically, to do business.
I can see a lot of attitude and not much enterprise in the current policy on parking and it certainly isn’t making Manchester City centre somewhere world class to work, visit or do business.