PARKING charges at Dorset Council-run car parks are increasing – but only in tourist areas.
The council says new rates will be seasonal, with some only increasing for the spring/summer period, coming into effect from April 28.
Some on-street pay and display rates will increase for non-permit holders on busy seafront roads, while prices in the council’s other car parks will not rise, except for some six-hour stays in multi-use car park areas used by larger vehicles such as coaches, large motorhomes and lorries.
Meanwhile, there will be no increase in the cost of on-street parking permits for residents, with short stay and flexi car park permit prices also remaining unchanged.
Tickets purchased in the afternoon for longer than the chargeable period in that day will roll over into the next day, after free overnight parking.
Car park charging periods will not change, remaining at 8am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday inclusive, unless specified as 24 hours.
Elsewhere, new multi-day tickets will enable holiday makers to buy one ticket that can cover the whole of their stay, rather than having to purchase a new ticket each day.
And a new, three-hour option in short stay car parks previously limited to two hours aim to give more time for appointments, shopping and eating.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said income from car parking is reinvested into the running of the parking service and maintenance of car parks and on-street parking places, with any surplus spent on highway improvements and public transport.
“We have designed the tariff increases so they have the least impact on Dorset residents and workers, while bringing in extra income to help us meet the rising costs of running our parking service and maintaining our car parks,” he said.
“The increases are limited to those car parks mainly used by visitors to the area, and encourage people to stay longer to enjoy all Dorset has to offer.
“They also continue to provide good value for money; when setting the new prices, we ran a comparison with charges in neighbouring areas and similar visitor destinations and our car parks are still some of the cheapest.
“We have also frozen charges for residents’ permits and the prices of our short stay and flexi use car park permits are unchanged.”
As well as changes to tariffs and parking rules, all car park and on-street pay and display machines are also being replaced by the end of the summer.
The new machines provide customers with more payment options, including cash, card, Apple Pay and Google Pay and online app. Wifi will also be improved in car parks with poor phone signals.
Cllr Bryan said: “We understand the importance of ensuring that all payment methods are as easy and convenient as possible, so we’re taking steps to address any potential connectivity issues.
“Any car parks with poor phone signal will be fitted with wifi hotspots, allowing customers to connect and make payment quickly and securely. Thank you for your continued support as we work to make these upgrades.”
For a full list of Dorset Council car parks – and the new tariffs and rules – log on to www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/new-parking-charges-2023.