Since the pandemic upended commuting behaviour, there have been empty spaces in some railway station car parks during the day, and now Kenley railway station in south London will trial the idea of letting local shoppers use the station for short-term parking.

Kenley rail station (c) GTR

Traditionally, the station’s car park only offered all-day parking options for people who drive to the station to commute by rail into London and then collect their car in the evenings. With changes in commuting following the pandemic, the car park is no longer as heavily used.

Following a suggestion from Croydon Borough councillor Gayle Gander, who noted the lack of short-term parking for visitors to local shops and the spare spaces in the station car park, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) says that it is introducing the two-month trial of hourly parking slots at Kenley rail station.

Councillor Gayle Gander pointed out the potential demand for shorter parking periods, with few other parking options for customers of Kenley’s parade of shops, restaurants and other amenities. The lack of parking would have become a bit more noticeable when a local pub was allowed to take over some spaces for outdoor seating during the pandemic, and that’s now permanent.

The new one-, two-, and four-hourly parking rates are being offered for a two-month trial period, and if popular, they could be made permanent.

For the pilot, instead of the full weekday tariff of up to £5.70, car park customers can choose to stay for up to an hour for £1, two hours for £2 or four hours for just £4. Weekend prices remain unchanged at £2.40 for a full day, and a weekly “season” is still available for £24.40.

GTR’s Commercial Director David Gornall said: “We hope these more flexible choices prove popular as we expect the new charging structure to be a win-win – good value and convenience for the local community and more revenue for the railway.”

Cllr Gander said: “I am pleased that GTR has taken this proactive step to addressing local residents’ needs, by diversifying the tariff structure at Kenley station for at least a trial period. The new options are likely to be made permanent if they prove popular, so I encourage people to take advantage of the convenient new parking provision.”

The station is served by Southern trains, which are part of GTR.

If the trial proves a success, it could be a way for train companies to generate more revenue from other underused station car parks close to shops. In theory, many people paying £1 an hour to use a parking space may raise more revenue for the train company than a single user paying £5.70 for an all-day pass.


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  1. ChrisC says:

    They are doing the same at car parks such as Brighton Station.

  2. Jim says:

    They should be flexible at every car park and not push people into paying for more than they really need….

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