The International Parking Community has launched a Free Car Park Finder, a portal that provides NHS staff and care workers with information on where to find parking being provided at no charge near their workplaces. However, not all parking operators will be in a position to offer free parking due to either contractual or business considerations.
It is easy to suggest that all car park operators should offer free parking to NHS workers, carers and key workers. However, that ignores the reality of the situation for many car park operators and land owners. As private individuals and businesses, they are as concerned about lost income as many other people, with many seeing revenue falling off a cliff and dropping by as much as 95%.
However, they aren’t able to simply close and take advantage of government furlough schemes, as many are required to keep their car parks open for the benefit of local communities. This problem has been exacerbated by the government apparently excluding them from the business rates relief that has been offered to retailers.
It is also worth remembering that many car parks aren’t suitable for free parking so it would be unhelpful and impractical to take a blanket approach. Residential car parks, for example, are currently struggling to deal with the circumstances of everyone being told to stay at home and it is also clear that, for a multitude of reasons, some offers which were originally made by car park companies simply aren’t sustainable.
The IPC has set up a dedicated web portal to provide NHS staff and care workers with a quick and easy-to-use way of finding free parking in their local area during the coronavirus emergency.
This is our way of providing help to everyone on the medical front line and those caring for the more vulnerable members of the community. Creating a central point of information for the benefit of all NHS staff and care workers is also acting as a catalyst for coordinating the offers of free parking right across the country so no-one misses out. We have really good coverage from the outset, but this is only going to grow.
We need to make sure the information on the Free Car Park Finder portal is as accurate and reliable as possible. We are asking anyone who is making the offer of free parking to contact us – in doing so, they will help to ensure their offer is accessed by as many people as possible. The portal aims to confirm the genuine offers of free parking for NSH and care workers, so if companies are making a genuine offer then there is no reason not to be included.
Will Hurley is chief executive of the IPC
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