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The cost of parking keeping over 50s away from local high streets this Christmas

25th November 2015 Print

Online shopping has been blamed for the demise of some high street shops, the cost of parking may have also played a part, according to research by Saga Car Insurance.

Many over 50s need to drive to their local shops for essentials or for meeting friends and remaining socially active. However, around one in three say they now avoid shopping in their local town centre because of the cost of parking; and one in five have stopped visiting their local high street altogether because it’s too expensive to park near the shops.

It may not just be the price that is putting some over 50s off using car parks. Some places have switched to only taking payment via mobile phones which doesn’t suit everyone, especially those who aren’t technologically savvy.

Two fifths of people are still keen to support their local high street and say they either walk or catch a bus to the shops. Furthermore, half of over 50s say they now drive to different places, such as shopping centres, where they don’t have to pay to park.

Expensive parking is less likely to women away from their local high street (women 42% v men 51%). Perhaps they don’t mind paying for parking if it means picking up a bargain.

Northerners are the most likely to begrudge paying to park to visit their favourite shops as people in the North West are the most likely to avoid shopping on the high street if they have to feed a parking meter.

Sue Green, Head of Car Insurance at Saga commented: “For many older people a car is key to maintaining their independence, being able to get to their local high street for essential shopping, picking up prescriptions or going for a coffee with friends should not be hindered by the cost of parking. If the Government want to breathe life back into shopping in the ‘real world’, rather than online, they need to curb excessive parking charges and unnecessary restrictions and consider offering free parking to enable shoppers to visit the local high street.”

Saga understands that its customers like being able to drive and don’t want to be off the road too long if they have an accident. So it has a unique team dedicated to helping older customers through the claims process so that they can get back on the road with minimal disruption.

Furthermore, if Saga Car Insurance customers have the legal add-on and are injured in an accident they can complete a free driver confidence course to ease them back behind the wheel.