City of Wolverhampton Council will make it half price to use its city centre car parks when charges return next Wednesday (1 July) after an extended free period.

The council is also permanently reducing car parking charges on 3 car parks on the periphery of the city centre to promote more walking and encouraging workers to opt for those freeing up more central car parking for shoppers. 

The incentives are designed to attract people back to the city centre after lockdown, support local businesses as they reopen and improve health and wellbeing. 

It remains free to park on all city centre car parks until next Wednesday (1 July). After that date, charges are being reintroduced – but anyone who parks on a council run car park using the RingGo app will get a 50% discount on the usual tariff. 

RingGo is available on every council city centre car park, apart from the Civic Centre underground car park which does not currently facilitate the app due to its barrier system (so the discount will not apply here). 

The 50% discount on car parks where RingGo is available will apply for 2 weeks from 1 July to 14 July. There will then be a 25% discount from 15 July to 28 July. 

The council is permanently reducing parking charges on School Street, Peel Street and Market car parks which have a combined total of 480 spaces. 

It currently costs up to £8 to park all day in these car parks, but from 1 July it will cost just £2 for a stay of more than 4 hours. Parking for up to 2 hours in these car parks will be 50p and between 2 and 4 hours will be £1. 

These 3 car parks are less than a 10 minute walk into the heart of the city centre, but have traditionally been less busy as people opt for more central car parks. 

As well as the cheaper rates, the council will promote them as ‘Active Car Parks’ to emphasise the health benefits of a slightly longer walk or cycle into the office. It is hoped that office workers will use them to park all day, improve their health and wellbeing and free up more central car parks for shoppers. 

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, said: “The council wants to do everything we possibly can to support businesses to get back on their feet after lockdown.  

“We can’t keep car parking free, just like private sector car parks we have to pay for their upkeep and security and we need a charging regime which encourages the turnover of spaces so that they aren’t clogged up with workers all day at the expense of shoppers. 

“We’ve already extended totally free parking until the end of June. From 1 July we are introducing a huge half price discount for 2 weeks for people who use the RingGo app to park with us and after that there will be a 25% discount for a further fortnight. 

“People have become more tech savvy than ever during this lockdown and have seen the benefits technology can bring to our lives. RingGo is a quick and convenient app available on all of our car parks, apart from the Civic Centre underground car park, and using the app removes the need to touch pay and display machines which can be an infection risk for both the public and our staff. You also don’t need to worry about having the right change.  

“On top of these big discounts, we are also permanently reducing fees in three of our city centre car parks meaning you can park all day on Peel Street, School Street or Market car parks for just £2.  

“This is outstanding value for a city centre car park, they are slightly further out of the centre – but less than a 10 minute walk and as many of us have discovered during lockdown, a daily walk is so beneficial for our health and wellbeing and it all adds to the 10,000 steps a day we are all after. We want to encourage that behaviour to continue as we get back to work. 

“For those people who have a bike they can fit into their car, they might also want to use these car parks and cycle from the car park into the city centre to use the secure cycle parking in town. Then they have the flexibility to be able to go for a cycle on their lunch break if they wish with West Park or the canal just minutes away.”  

The council is removing all pay and display machines, which can pose an infection risk due to people touching them, on Peel Street, School Street and Market car parks entirely. The RingGo app will be the only payment method on those car parks. 

On other car parks, the number of pay and display machines will be reduced to a maximum of 2 to encourage people to use the contactless RingGo app. The machines which remain will be cleaned more frequently. 

The Civic Centre underground car park will reopen on 1 July after being closed since lockdown. It will continue to operate its barrier exit method meaning the RingGo app cannot be used.  Payment here will continue to be via machines which will be cleaned more regularly and hand sanitiser will be available. 

The council is reintroducing enforcement action, which was suspended during lockdown, for both on and off street parking as well as those who contravene bus lane restrictions from 1 July. 

Please note that the RingGo app may charge a small surcharge for transactions made using the app in addition to the council’s parking charges.