Wrong change adds up to £1.3 billion car parking waste

12th July 2013

  • Drivers pay for 1.1 billion hours of parking a year that they don’t use
  • 47 per cent of motorists overpay to avoid potential fines
  • Young drivers are the most short-changed, paying out an extra £3.25 a week

Drivers are wasting up to £1.3 billion a year because they don’t have the correct change for pay and display car parking machines, reveals new research1 from Direct Line car insurance. The study found the average driver overpays by £2.19 on pay and display machines every week – a wasted £113.63 every year.

The study shows that 47 per cent of motorists overpay to avoid potential fines when they are caught short of change and, as a result, buy almost an hour of parking time they then don’t use every week. Collectively, this equates to 1.1 billion2 hours of unused parking time a year.

Young drivers are particularly short-changed, as 18-34 year olds overpay by £3.25 a week - £1.06 more than the average figure.

The research shows Londoners are paying for the most unused parking time, at an average 60 minutes a week. Despite drivers in Wales wasting the lowest amount of change in the UK, they still waste an average 62 minutes a week, the equivalent to 54 hours a year, in overpayments.

Average amount wasted per year across the UK

Region Amount wasted per year Amount of time wasted per year
London £210.98 51hr 45m
Scotland £136.50 40hr 30m
South West £132.17 49hr 29m
East Midlands £102.92 37hr 27m
North East £98.53 47hr 59m
South East £97.26 36hr 37m
West Midlands £94.00 50hr 20m
North West £93.83 46hr 11m
Yorkshire & Humberside £93.60 44hr 55m
East of England £91.32 34hr 29m
Wales £46.22 54hr 0m

*results in the North East have a smaller base and are indicative only

However, for those who have run the risk of parking without paying, one in four (25 per cent) motorists has been hit with a parking fine in the past three years, amounting to £450 million in penalty charges.

Rob Miles, head of Motor at Direct Line, commented: “Overpaying by £2.19 a week doesn’t sound like a huge amount to pay for peace of mind, but when you work out how much drivers as a whole are wasting, it really puts it in perspective. We are calling for more car parks to have payment on departure machines so that motorists only have to pay for the time they have used.”

Notes to editors

  1. Opinium research interviewed a UK nationally representative sample of 2,003 adults aged 18+ from 31st May -3rd June 2013. Results have been extrapolated up based on applying the percentage of UK adults in the nationally representative survey to the number of adults in the UK according to the ONS (50,371,000).
  2. Averages for spending and number of hours wasted have been calculated by asking respondents to estimate the amount they overspend and the amount of time they pay for but do not use in a typical week. Mean averages for all respondents (and all in each region) were calculated and multiplied by the percentage of the sample who indicated that they were drivers

For more information please contact:

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

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