Parking charges return to park and ride sites

Free parking for NHS staff and care workers is maintained in Oxford

Parking charges in Oxford’s park and ride car parks will return on Monday 15 June – but NHS staff and care workers will continue to benefit from free parking for the foreseeable future.

The charges were suspended during the coronavirus lockdown. But, with the Government allowing non-essential shops to reopen on Monday 15 June, the city and county councils have decided to restart parking charges, while making changes to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians within the city centre.

This means that from 15 June, parking charges will apply across Oxford. Parking charges will be in operation at Westgate from Monday 15 June. Parking enforcement will be carried out in council controlled on-street and off-street parking.

Funding for pedestrians and cyclists

With the Government recommending people not to use public transport at the moment unless there is no choice, the city council and county council are funding a series of improvements in Oxford city centre to enable pedestrians and cyclists to maintain social distancing.

This will include increased bicycle parking at Oxford’s park and rides and in the city centre, and improvements to cycle paths into Oxford, to enable drivers to park at the park and rides and carry out the rest of the journey by bike.

The city council has committed £234,000 to kick start work on the measures, with further funding announcements for improvements to Oxford – including from the county council – expected soon.

Reducing congestion and air pollution

Oxford’s medieval streets were not designed with car parking in mind, so and by charging more for city centre parking the council aims to encourage less traffic into the city and increased use of the park and rides for those who want to park and cycle.

Since the lockdown started, air pollution in Oxford city centre has dropped by a historic 64 per cent. To put the historic reduction into perspective, over the decade to 2019 air pollution levels in Oxford had decreased by 36.8 per cent.

The city council and county council are working together to maintain the reduction after the lockdown lifts.

Free parking for NHS staff and care workers

The city council and county council have worked together to ensure that NHS staff and care workers can continue to receive free car parking – on-street, in city centre car parks and at park and rides – in and around Oxford.

If you work for the NHS or as a care worker, you can park for free in all:

You must show proof that you're eligible in your windscreen. This can be a:

  • photocopy of your work pass with sensitive information removed
  • health, care and volunteer workers parking pass (also known as a universal government parking pass): get this from your healthcare employer or the Royal Voluntary Service
  • letter of evidence from your employer

County Councillor Liam Walker, Cabinet member for Highway Operation and Delivery, said: NHS staff and care workers are still central to the country’s response to COVID-19 and we are maintaining free parking for them to make their task easier.

“Sustainable transport will be a really important feature of life as we move towards restarting many of our old activities and the work we are doing with councils across Oxfordshire is going to bring about some noticeable changes soon."

Cllr Tom Hayes, City Council Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said: “The decision to suspend parking charges at the start of the lockdown was always intended to be a temporary one.

“With the Government starting to ease lockdown measures, and charges being re-introduced by neighbouring local authorities, we feel now is the right time to follow suit.

“The coronavirus crisis has provided a glimpse of a better city centre, one with fewer cars on our roads, choking our air and polluting our environment. Before the coronavirus, our medieval streets could not handle the volume of traffic. That’s even more the case now we‘re making physical changes to Oxford’s roads to ensure they’re safer for cyclists and pedestrians to socially distance.”

Parking payment

Motorists using the park and rides are asked, where possible, to use the Hozah or RingGo system to pay for parking. This removes the need to use the parking pay machines. Similarly in other city council car parks users are asked to use the RingGo system.

Anyone unable to use the contactless payment systems is encouraged use debit or credit cards in the on-site pay machines, though cash is still accepted, and to take precautions by wearing gloves, or washing or sanitising their hands after use.

The safety of the public and council staff is paramount, and car park arrangements will be kept under review in line with Government guidance.

For more details visit https://www.oxford.gov.uk/homepage/41/car_parks_in_oxford