THE introduction of ‘premium’ tariffs at two council-owned car parks in Omagh town centre earlier this year has led to a drop in long stay usage and increased the availability of spaces, a report has revealed.
As part of changes which came into force at the start of September, the cost of parking in both the Johnston Park and Market Street car parks increased to 50p per hour.
The 25 per-cent price hike at the two car parks, which affected a total of 278 paid-for spaces, was just one of a number of measures introduced by the council with the aim of reducing long-term parking and improving the availability of spaces closest to the town centre.
And, according to a report presented to the latest meeting of the council’s Environmental Services Committee, the series of changes implemented in September have had the “desired impact”.
The ‘Off Street Car Parking Update’ report detailed the findings of spot occupancy surveys carried out in Omagh and Enniskillen in late September and October this year.
AECOM, the company that conducted the surveys, concluded that the implementation of aspects of the parking strategy appeared to have had the “desired impact” for the council, in that long stay usage in premium car parks had decreased and space availability had increased.
The results of the surveys also showed that vehicles were relocating to nearby non-premium car parks.
It was also noted that, in general in the council car parks where premium tariffs were introduced, weekday space turnover and availability had increased.
The report further stated that, according to the results of the surveys, those users who had been impacted by the introduction of the premium parking tariffs did not appear to be parking in nearby residential areas.
But, in its conclusions, AECOM stressed that a ‘settling in’ period was still ongoing after the introduction of the higher tariffs in both Omagh and Enniskillen.
It warned that it would be premature to make any further judgment until another dataset is collected next year.