THE INCREASE in car park charges to £3 per day at two Malvern railway stations has been shunted into the sidings while rail chiefs hold further talks with Worcestershire County Council.
West Midlands Railway had hoped to set up the charge at both Great Malvern and Malvern Link stations in a move which prompted West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin to speak out about their plans.
Mrs Baldwin expressed concern more motorists would find parking spaces in nearby residential roads rather than face being hit in the pocket.
As well as causing an inconvenience to people living near the station, she said it would also increase congestion at both stations as more cars are parking either side of the roads concerned.
Mrs Baldwin called on West Midlands Railway to work with the local authority to develop a solution.
One option would be a ‘residents’ parking permit’ which would be similar to a scheme introduced when car parking charges were introduced at Hagley railway station.
West Midlands Trains has introduced car park increases across the region this month after having its subsidies reduced to make taxpayers pay less to underpin the rail network.
Francis Thomas, head of corporate affairs for West Midlands Railway, confirmed the operator had been working with the county council and the fee increase had been delayed.
He said: “We have a duty to taxpayers and ticket-buyers alike to ensure we are maximising income from the railway estate.
“We have listened to feedback and reduced the headline charge from £4.50 per day to £3. Car park season ticket holders will pay just £1.12 per day.
“At the same time we are currently investing half-a-million pounds in our car parks to improve surfaces and lighting and to introduce automatic number plate recognition.”
Mrs Baldwin added: “While it is supporting the principle of reducing the cost to the taxpayer of running the trains, these parking fees will have unintended consequences of impacting local residents who live near our Malvern stations.
“Station car parking is an issue I have already picked up on as I canvassed in the last local elections.”