Train station car parks are introducing 'first class' parking
Passengers have expressed outrage at the new initiative, slamming it as "another opportunity to screw us for money." Under the new Reserved Premier Parking scheme, customers have the option of paying extra on top of the usual annual ticket price for a reserved space.
Parking operator Park Indigo offers Premier Parking at various station car parks it manages for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the train operating company for the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise.
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Parking prices vary at each station, but customers can expect to pay about £100 to £150 more per year for premier parking on top of their annual ticket. For example, at the car park for Potters Bar station, Hertfordshire, it costs £995 for a years parking, and £1140 for premier parking.
Frustrated commuters, many of whom have had to deal with extensive disruption to their journeys due to the Southern Rail dispute, have criticised the premier parking scheme – with one dubbing GTR "the Ryanair of railways."
Richard Sparks posted on Facebook: "Can't help but feel this is another opportunity to screw us for money rather than improve parking at Sutton."
Commuter Colin Young commented on social media: "Same at Three Bridges.
I bet for the premium the spaces will be closer to the entrance
"Mind you I have used the Indigo premium service in France, it was handy for a 1 off guaranteed space to ensure we caught our chosen TGV without the worry of finding a space at peak time.
"Cant help thinking it will be different here with corporates running it through their expenses without even pausing to think of the cost."
Luke Turnbull added: "I bet for the premium the spaces will be closer to the entrance and I'd bet even more that those spaces will be closer than the disabled bays lol" David Ashling said on Facebook: "That's despicable. GTR: the Ryanair of the railways."
Park Indigo Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise
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ete Anstock from Westerham, Kent, added: "Yep, they've taken a load of spaces out at Oxted, where they are desperately short of parking spaces."
A spokesman for rail service campaign group Rail Future said the lack of parking spaces is part of a wider issue.
Spokesman Bruce Williamson said: "My first reaction is that obviously they have a right to offer premium services, in the same way that they offer first class seating on trains.
"However on trains you can stand if you don't have a first class ticket and there is no space, but what is the equivalent of standing up on a train for parking your car when there's no space?
Commuters can expect to pay about £100 to £150 more a year for premium parking
"This premier parking is only a product that works because there isn't enough parking at stations.
"There are examples of multi-storey car parks used as a solution, which make good use of the space, but obviously this is an expensive solution.
"The car parking problem is a reflection of the wider problem of capacity on our railways.
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