Union slams 'rip-off' Birmingham New Street car parking charges
Rail passengers in Birmingham are being "ripped off" over the price of parking, facing charges of up to £55 for four hours, a union has complained.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association said rail users are paying more than £1bn a year in charges at station car parks, describing it as a "scandal".
A union survey of more than 1,000 station car parks in England and Scotland showed charges including £55 for four hours in Birmingham and Manchester, £135 for eight hours' parking at the same stations, £1,404 for an annual car park ticket at York station and £1,790 for an annual car park ticket in Guildford, Surrey.
More than £1m a year is being made from the car park at Birmingham International, which is being trebled in size, said the study.
The TSSA said Network Rail, which controls the country's 18 largest stations and charges the most, is making more than £15m a year from passengers.
Releasing the survey at his union's annual conference in Torquay, Devon, general secretary Gerry Doherty said: "This is a real scandal and we are today calling on Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to do something about it.
"Passengers, like visitors to hospitals, are being ripped off simply because they are a captive audience. They are already paying the most expensive fares in Europe and now we find they are paying the highest car parking charges as well.
"Not content with increasing fares three times already this year, the greedy rail firms want to squeeze passengers until the pips squeak by hitting them in their wallets every time they park their cars."
The union leader called on the Government to curb car parking charges by including them in the fares formula which prevents rail companies from increasing regulated fares by more than 1% above inflation every year.
The union said the five most expensive station car parks were Birmingham New Street (£55 for four hours and then £20 an hour), Manchester Piccadilly (£35 for three hours, then £20 an hour), Glasgow Central (£35 for 5 hours, then £20 an hour), London Euston (£16 for eight hours, £22 for all day) and London Paddington (£14 for eight hours, £22 for all day).