The Great Parking Debate

jon81uk

TS Member
I agree that at a park like Chessington that has a good train link to Waterloo then the parking charge is, in part at least, encouraging people not to drive.
But at Alton, where as others have said, it is hard not to drive, the charge could also help keep the number of cars down. Instead of 2 people each in two cars, you could be encouraged to bring one car with 4 people in it.
I don't see the car park charge as a major issue at £6 really. It needs to increase a lot to start looking really greedy.
 

Benzin

TS Member
Is it not the norm in this country also though? Blackpool charge for parking (more than Towers), as do Drayton. The smaller parks tend to have free car parking but I'd imagine this is an attempt to gain a few extra guests where they can or help create a percieved good impression.

All major parks in the UK charge for parking.

Only in recent years (this decade pretty much) has it become 'the norm', what with Thorpe, Chessie and Lego bringing it in over the last 5 years, with Drayton doing that as well...

Blackpool is a strange comparison, since they don't have an official car park do they? Besides, you can either find a spot close by on the road that's free, or a pay & display which is then money going to the council over the park...

So pretty much the only major parks that charge for their solely owned car parks are Merlin parks and Drayton... But because the UK is so small, that does encompass pretty much all 'major' parks...

Abroad, it's been the 'norm' for a lot longer than it has over here...
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Blackpool has several car parks, we have parked in the one behind the Casino building before and it was at least £6 all day.

Drayton Manor has charged for car parking for as long as I remember. But of course they didn't use to be a pay on entry park. I remember paying in the car when you arrive and the buying a wristband for the rides separately, so you could say this was an entry fee not a car park fee.
 

GaryH

TS Member
I don't see the car park charge as a major issue at £6 really. It needs to increase a lot to start looking really greedy.

Really? So for a family of four who have just spent about £175 to get in, and another £50 for food and drink, and their fuel costs, to be slapped with another £6 just for choosing to travel to Alton and give the park their custom for the day and park in the theme park car park as there is no where else for them to park........ you don't think its a bit cheeky?!

We always used to joke about Merlin grabbing its customers by the feet on the way and making sure every last penny drops out of their pockets, well, the car park charge is just that!!!!! Greed, pure and simple.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Blackpool is a strange comparison, since they don't have an official car park do they? Besides, you can either find a spot close by on the road that's free, or a pay & display which is then money going to the council over the park...

BPB do have official car parks and they cost either £8 or £9, I forget which. Of course there other other parking options in Blackpool, if you arrive early enough you can find free street parking.

:)
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Really? So for a family of four who have just spent about £175 to get in, and another £50 for food and drink, and their fuel costs, to be slapped with another £6 just for choosing to travel to Alton and give the park their custom for the day and park in the theme park car park as there is no where else for them to park........ you don't think its a bit cheeky?!.

I parked in a city centre car park a few weeks ago and got charged £4 for only a few hours, Blackpool charges £6 to park next to the park, or you pay and display in the council car parks which cost £5-£7.50 for all day parking. We went to Warwick Castle and their own car park was full at the time (I think they have since added more field car parks) and so had to park in the town car park and we paid over £6 for all day parking. Every park we visited by car in the USA charged $17, that is greedy, I wouldn't want to try American public transport to get out to Six Flags!

So generally no, £6 isn't greedy.
 

thefatone

TS Member
Not entirely sure why people think the park would increase the parking to £7 yet. £6 is costly enough, and is already an issue, so they really won't add this with issues. Plus, the whole investment in parking machines is irritating too. Did anyone try and actually use the machines or get frustrated at the barriers before? At least the machines will work, and we can scan our annual passes out of the exit. That's investment worth doing, not just for the sake of it.

Plus blade, woo.
 

Tom

TS Member
Not entirely sure why people think the park would increase the parking to £7 yet. £6 is costly enough

The price has been frozen for four years. It is ripe for a rise. A rise from £6 to £7 is a 16% rise, because the car parking is only ever going to go up to a round even £ figure, it will be held back for a few years then rise. As the prices gets higher and higher the gaps between rises will decrease.

Not sure how long it was at £4 before going to £5, maybe someone remembers but I wasn't visiting in those days. Indeed, my 2010 visit was the first since childhood in 1998, so imagine my surprise that you had to pay at all.

You can say anything is too expensive, including the gate price.
 

James

TS Founding Member
Generally I'm not a fan of paying to park at an expensive theme park, especially when you're forced to pay because the park is in the middle of nowhere.

I think they need to look at making car park tickets available to book online. After a long day of rides and fun, you walk to go out and then you realize you've got to spend £6 on top of everything else for the day, it must leave a lot of guests with a sour taste in their mouths. I'm surprised Towers haven't yet included parking tickets online to buy, it would save on guest traffic around the machines at the end of the day, help a certain percentage of guests leave the park without thinking or worrying about paying more and it would be even easier to implement this year with the new barriers. Maybe online car park tickets are planned for the near future, if not I hope it happens soon.
 

James

TS Founding Member
Not sure how long it was at £4 before going to £5, maybe someone remembers but I wasn't visiting in those days. Indeed, my 2010 visit was the first since childhood in 1998, so imagine my surprise that you had to pay at all.

In 2009 it went from £4 to £5 :)
 
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jon81uk

TS Member
Generally I'm not a fan of paying to park at an expensive theme park, especially when you're forced to pay because the park is in the middle of nowhere.

I think they need to look at making car park tickets available to book online. After a long day of rides and fun, you walk to go out and then you realize you've got to spend £6 on top of everything else for the day, it must leave a lot of guests with a sour taste in their mouths. I'm surprised Towers haven't yet included parking tickets online to buy, it would save on guest traffic around the machines at the end of the day, help a certain percentage of guests leave the park without thinking or worrying about paying more and it would be even easier to implement this year with the new barriers. Maybe online car park tickets are planned for the near future, if not I hope it happens soon.

The new ticket barriers take the same tickets as the turnstyles at the entrance. So they should be able to print the car park tickets at the ticket windows now. Hopefully they will start doing this and therefore you are buying the ticket at the beginng of the day when you use your 2for1 to get entry tickets.
 

KyleFandango

TS Member
Really? So for a family of four who have just spent about £175 to get in, and another £50 for food and drink, and their fuel costs, to be slapped with another £6 just for choosing to travel to Alton and give the park their custom for the day and park in the theme park car park as there is no where else for them to park........ you don't think its a bit cheeky?!

We always used to joke about Merlin grabbing its customers by the feet on the way and making sure every last penny drops out of their pockets, well, the car park charge is just that!!!!! Greed, pure and simple.

So when I go to any other leasure attraction it's different?. If i go the cinima which is 5 miles away i still pay more than towers.
I think people forget that a large proportion of this income goes towards traffic easing in busy periods in surrounding villages, a 24 hour first responder team who cover all the local area as far as cheadle, local projects such as gritting all of Alton in winter so the more frail residents can still get out and have a life, A car park staffed with attendants all day and someone on cctv monitoring all day. Re investment in the car parks with a whole new system that will make it faster and easier for all guests. Not to mention the fact that the charge also stops convoys of cars for a single family and gives more incentive to car share helping to conserve the fantastic environment that surrounds such an iconic place.
 

Danny

TS Contributor
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Not to mention the fact that the charge also stops convoys of cars for a single family and gives more incentive to car share helping to conserve the fantastic environment that surrounds such an iconic place.

More incentive to car share? The £6 pricetag on parking your car is incentive enough. Nobody is going to see these new barriers and think any differently other than they are no longer being ripped off, as there is now no opportunity to leave the Resort without paying.

In the past, guests could simply chance not paying or wait around longer and leave without staff being on hand to challenge the policy, whereas this new scheme will guarantee more money is being placed into the Towers pocket.

-

Convoy of cars for a single family? Sounds like many straws are being clutched at here.
 

GaryH

TS Member
So when I go to any other leasure attraction it's different?. If i go the cinima which is 5 miles away i still pay more than towers.

Yeah and cinemas tend to be in city centres, which have public transport links. And it doesnt cost £175 for a family of 4 to go watch a film. Not an argument.

I think people forget that a large proportion of this income goes towards traffic easing in busy periods in surrounding villages, a 24 hour first responder team who cover all the local area as far as cheadle, local projects such as gritting all of Alton in winter so the more frail residents can still get out and have a life, A car park staffed with attendants all day and someone on cctv monitoring all day. Re investment in the car parks with a whole new system that will make it faster and easier for all guests. Not to mention the fact that the charge also stops convoys of cars for a single family and gives more incentive to car share helping to conserve the fantastic environment that surrounds such an iconic place.

The surrounding roads are the responsibility of the local council. Alton owns the roads from its doorstep inwards, the public roads are what the tax payers fund. Whether Alton have a scheme to grit alton thats up to them, but things like this are and should be funded by the local council and taxpayers.

Attendants in the car park. I've seen them in the mornings, and at home time (at the barriers), never seen anyone patrolling the car parks in the daytime, nor have I seen many CCTV cameras. Yeah there are some, but not many compared to the likes of other car parks. The area on the overflow car park I don't believe there are any.

And as for stopping convoys of cars for a single family? REALLY? So a family of 4 in a family car can fit more people in? Hey maybe they can sit more kids on the kids laps in the car, squeeze some in the boot. Families tend to fill their cars anyway. It doesn't stop anything, and doesn't encourage car sharing because there is basically no other way to get to Alton except by car for the majority of guests, and if people are going to go anyway, regardless if there is a charge or not, they will still go in the same car to share on the fuel cost. If people are converging on the park from various destinations then they have no choice but to pay to park in each car as there is no where else to park their cars en route and car share, i.e. park and ride.

The car parking charge is not a valid argument for any of these points.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Yeah and cinemas tend to be in city centres, which have public transport links. And it doesnt cost £175 for a family of 4 to go watch a film. Not an argument.
.

Cinema in London is around £10 (£8 in Birmingham) for an adult ticket so for a two hour film that is £5 (£4 Birmingham) per hour. Alton Towers is approx £25 (using a 2for1 which most do) for a seven hour day is £3.57 per hour. Parkign per hour is about 85p for Alton Towers, about £1 for cinema (if I drive, otherwise £1.50 each public transport).
So yes the costs are comparable.
 

GaryH

TS Member
No they are not. We are talking about a theme park and a cinema, with the point being made about parking. If someone pays lets say £35 for a family ticket to watch a movie and £3 to park their car (if they choose to drive instead of get a bus or train into the city/town), its not a huge deal.

When someone pays £175 to go to a theme park in the middle of nowhere where they have no option but to drive, then pay another £6 for having to park their car there because there is no other way they could get there, then its an insult.

So no, they are not comparable at all when you take into consideration all the factors.
 

SuperMuscleMan

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus
Personally I'd love to be a farmer next door to towers entrance and charge £2 to park in a field with all profits to charity. The money earned should go towards major upgrades and maintance of the parks and local roads.

Merlin are a greedy company and I can't wait for paramount london to open. I have stopped visiting the towers now. Its an ugly dated park that seems to represent a traveling fair in the way its run and maintained. (Look how dated it is, late openings, rides closed then reopened. (Blade)).

Thr parking charge was for the benefit of the locals but now its for the benefit of merlin. Let's say they take £3 million a year. That's basically what's funding the new rides per year. I'd agree with a minimal parking charge or of they money was paid into local road schemes but its not. Alton is in the sticks and does not provide any means or sutiable public transport. Whereas a park like the potential paramount park should charge a high fee as its being made to be transport friendly and look a to be building a public transport link via monorail from the international station.
 

bluesonichd

TS Member
Complain complain complain, heres an idea, think the car park charge is wrong? Then dont pay it, dont visit AT, stay at home, reduces the que times for the rest of us :)
 

SuperMuscleMan

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus
So the initial agreement to charge for parking to put towards better local road infrastructure is invalid is it? It proves you can't trust merlin/towers. I have a conscious, merlin obviously don't. Think how it effects daily life for locals, also I think it will do damage to the park long term, if they want a planning application to go through and promise x and y who says the locals won't object due to the road promises in the past. (Yes others fault) but they could have spent parking on other transport and road improvements.
 
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