LOCAL authorities and private firms are raking in millions of pounds in expensive parking charges across Scotland.
Motorists are being charged up to £6.50 to park for a few minutes in some Scottish cities, as the cost of driving continues to spiral out of control.
There are huge variations in parking fees across Scotland, with Edinburgh and Glasgow amongst the most expensive.
A one-day stay at Edinburgh’s Waverly Station will leave drivers a whopping £115 out of pocket.
The shocking figures come at a time when Scots motorists are facing the highest ever average petrol prices and rocketing insurance costs.
The colossal parking charges have also sparked concerns for the country’s ailing high streets, as out of town shopping centres boast free car parking.
Car parks in Edinburgh, operated by NCP, charge a minimum of £6.50 for a short-stay, and up to £20.50 for a nine hour stretch.
Council on-street parking is also high, with the local authority charging £2.60 an hour in some areas and a minimum of £3 in others.
In Glasgow city centre it costs motorists £2.40 per house to park in the street and up to £22 a day in multi-story.
Hugh Bladon, of the Association of British Drivers said: “Where will this end? Motorists are already being hit from every direction and soon no-one will be able to afford to drive a car or go shopping in towns and cities. It’s little wonder the economy is struggling.”
Phil McCabe, the Forum of Private Business, added: “People are avoiding town centres because of these excess charges. It is about time councils stopped using parking as a cash cow. If they saw the bigger picture and cut their parking charges private parking firms would quickly follow suit and small businesses would see the benefits.”
In Aberdeen city centre daily parking rates range from £10 to £16, while in Dundee they are less than £8. In Inverness drivers can leave their cars in the centre for £6 a day or less.
The Edinburgh City Council made an overall profit of £14.6m from its parking operations in the financial year 2009/10.
Stuart Mackinnon, of the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland, said: “Any barriers which stop people using town or city centres have a significant impact on retailers and other businesses. Whenever councils put up charges is just makes them less attractive in comparison to the out-of-town supermarkets.”
Cash-strapped councils say they need to strike a balance between raising funds and not hitting business and residents too hard.
Councillor Jim Coleman, of Glasgow City Council said: “Parking charges in Glasgow have not increased for a number of years and were frozen again in the budget passed in February. The range of parking controls in use and the facilities we invest in are in line with out local transport strategy which seeks to support greater use of public transport.”
A spokeswoman for the NCP said: “We work hard to create tariff boards that are appropriate for the majority of customers who use each site.
“For instance, our Castle Terrace prices are not designed for the person who is parking for ten minutes. The average customer to this site parks for around four hours so we have a tariff board that starts at two hours.
“We work hard to make out car parking prices fit the requirements of the local community, but it must be remember that the call to ask all parking operators to reduce their costs in order to keep high streets busy must be weighed up with out need as a business.”