Drivers are three times more likely to get a parking ticket in Cardiff’s city centre than in any other part of the city, it has emerged.
The capital’s council-employed parking officials came under fire yesterday after research by the Echo showed the extent to which they concentrate on problem parkers in the city centre.
Our research is the first time that data for an entire year of local authority parking enforcement has been fully analysed.
Streets in Cardiff’s Cathays ward, which covers the city centre, attracted 29,790 tickets between July 5, 2010, and July 5 2011, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed.
That was nearly half of the 63,771 tickets issued across the capital and nearly three times as many as were issued in the neighbouring Roath ward.
Churchill Way is the place where motorists are most likely to get caught, with 2,598 tickets issued in a year, followed by Charles Street with 2,142 and Windsor Place with 1,602.
Brian Finn, Labour councillor for Ely, warned focusing on particular streets in the city could lead to anger if motorists parking in those areas felt they were being unfairly targeted.
He said: “If you’ve got high parking areas, where people are getting caught all the time, those streets should be signed in such a way that it’s clear they can’t park there.
“I believe personally it’s a form of entrapment and people are being caught for no other reason than to deliver funds for the council.
“We need the income, the only way we can get it is by continually approaching the streets you know you’re going to get an income from and that’s wrong.
“If they signed with proper signage then whoever parks there is a fool, but don’t use them as entrapment.”
Coun Finn said when the council took over parking in July last year there had been little warning to motorists about what impact the changes might have on their parking habits.
He said: “People were not prepared for it. Take for example the recycling changes: it has been well advertised, people have been well advised of what the consequences will be.
“But when it comes to this parking problem, no-one was told about it.”
Streets in Cardiff make up six out of the top 10 places in Wales where councils have issued the most tickets.
A Cardiff council spokeswoman said: “Parking enforcement has had a positive impact on problem parkers in the city, particularly improving bus journey times and parking in shopping districts where people were previously overstaying the restricted times in parking bays. Inevitably most enforcement is conducted in the city centre as this area has the most Traffic Regulation Orders.
“This is in recognition of the greatest number of problem parkers resulting in tickets being issued where offences are recorded.
“The majority of tickets issued on Churchill Way are due to people parking in disabled bays, an offence the council takes very seriously.
“The council is still waiting for the Welsh Government to amend current legislation in order to apply for powers to enforce bus lane infringements and other moving offences.”
In its first year with responsibility for parking enforcement, the council issued 63,771 tickets, collecting a total of £1,565,502 in fines.
The city’s transport chief, Councillor Lisa Ford, said: “The council taking over responsibility for enforcing parking regulations has been a success.
“All of the money that previously went to central government in London now stays in Cardiff.
“Nobody likes paying parking fines but I am sure everybody in the city would agree it is better the money raised stays in Cardiff.
“We can then recycle the money locally, helping to keep council tax down. This is in keeping with the decentralist agenda.”
Which areas of Cardiff are hardest hit with parking tickets?Adamsdown: 2,255 Butetown: 5,679 Caerau: 13 Canton: 4,000 Cathays: 29,790 Creigiau/St Fagans: 0 Cyncoed: 10 Ely: 33 Fairwater: 8 Gabalfa: 597 Grangetown: 1,832 Heath: 2,894 Lisvane: 1 Llandaff: 192 Llandaff North: 58 Llanishen: 291 Llanrumney: 2 Pentwyn: 7 Pentyrch: 0 Penylan: 149 Plasnewydd: 10,442 Pontprennau/
Old St Mellons: 188 Radyr: 4 Rhiwbina: 54 Riverside: 4,208 Rumney: 28 Splott: 168 Trowbridge: 3 Whitchurch and Tongwynlais: 830