Saturday, 19 July 2008

Disabled Parking Economics

If you ever go down Horfield Road, by Saint Michael's Hill, during weekday or weekend hospital hours, you will see a line of cars on the double yellow lines, often including the bus stop.

None of these cars get ticketed, because they have a disabled sticker on them. Which, given they are clearly visiting the hospital, could well be justified. You don't go to the BRI if you can avoid it. But why park on the yellow lines? Is it because they can, and there is no room in the car park? Not quite.

There is room in the car park, at least on this weekend shot. So that's not the reason. Here's the reason, from the United Bristol Healthcare's parking site Terms and Conditions.

2 pounds 20 an hour, 60 quid fine. Disabled parking is only allowed in the few disabled slots. Which at the time of inspection, were all taken up. So disabled people driving to the hospital on a Saturday for some ongoing treatment are given a choice of 2+ pounds/hour for the car park or free parking where the bus stop is. What rational person would not block the bus stop?
Given the patients are making a rational decision: it's cheaper to park on the double yellow lines, why doesn't the hospital recognise the ongoing need for disabled parking and say "anyone with a disabled sticker can park free for the first two hours?". Again, rational thinking.

Every disabled driver parked in their car park would bring in zero pounds/hour revenue. Every space used for disabled parking is essentially lost money. Assuming the opening hours of the hospital are 0800 to 2000: 12 hours/day weekdays, and during those hours the car park was full of cars. That's 185 pounds/week, or 9600 pounds/year for every disabled parking space, or every disabled car parking in a non-designated parking space. If an average of eight disabled cars were to park in the BRI car park (that's the normal number of disabled cars on the yellow lines), that would be an opportunity cost to the BRI of just under seventy-seven thousand pounds per year.
And that's why you get disabled cars blocking the bus stop outside the BRI. Not because the disabled drivers are being lazy and selfish, but because someone in the UBHT with a spreadsheet decided that letting the disabled patients park for free would cost them too much money, and having them park illegally outside was not their problem.


LynnieB said...

Well put! Though I must say that in the week there are NEVER any disabled OR abled parking spots available regardless of whether you're willing to pay. BOTH my very elderly parents (Dad's disabled)are being treated for cancer and have to go the BRI every, single weekday. They cannot afford a return taxi from home 5 days a week and certainly can't walk up the very steep hill from a car park somewhere in town. So if they're 'lucky' they sometimes have to park on the double yellows which Dad hates doing as he's very 'old school' and feels he's doing wrong. Even if he does find a parking spot, because they regularly have to wait for 4 or 5 hours for treatment (can you believe that!)they have to feed the meter which costs a fortune! On top of which, they're often not in a position to be able to go back to the car park so can't manage to feed it on time so then they're panicking that they'll be clamped. They're both 86 years old, partially disabled and suffering from aggessive cancer - surely them and those like them,deserve a break!!

SteveL said...

That is bad; that whole oncology facility is pretty grim. Then there's A&E, which is something out the Boer War at times.

There is that little BRI hospital bus, which does join up some parts of town, but nowhere you'd be able to park freely except maybe bits near bedminster -and then there's the problem of when that bus stops; whether they'll make it back.

Talbot Hill said...

It is indeed VERY difficult to park at the BRI, mostly on a weekday and it will get worse soon when the building work starts to extend the hospital.

Half of the Oncology car park will be closed and all the spaces in Terrell Street will be lost (the road that leads through the hospital grounds past A&E).

At least there is a solution to parking, the Cabot Circus Bus Shuttle, a little-known FREE service that runs 7:00am to 8:00pm every 15/20 minutes. Parking at Cabot Circus is still only £1.00 per hour.

Before I tried this service, I went to the NCP in Rupert Street; 45 minutes parking for £4.70. Bargain!