The Principality Stadium is home to some of the most major sporting and music events in Cardiff. Image credit: Jaggery.

Six Nations parking charges to ‘put pressure’ on drivers as council refuses discount

Cardiff is charging a flat rate of £15 – even if you’re only parking for a few hours

CARDIFF residents will have to pay more to park in the city centre during Six Nations home games than on a normal day, whether they are heading to the stadium or not.

A proposal for cheaper parking for locals was dismissed at the last full council meeting.

Calum Davies, the Welsh Conservative councillor for Radyr and Morganstown, asked whether the council would consider introducing a scheme where residents of Cardiff could provide proof of address to avoid paying the premium for parking when events are on.

Speaking to The Cardiffian, Coun Davies suggested that drivers could show their licences to parking wardens when entering the car parks to allow them to use the usual parking meter rather than paying the event day prices.

Cardiff Council charges a flat rate of £15 for the day at its designated events parking areas. Eight hours (the equivalent of a normal working day) of parking at Sophia Gardens usually costs £9.20 while at the Civic Centre it costs £10.10.

The £15 events parking tickets are valid for 15 hours, but do not offer an hourly tariff – which is an option on days when events are not on – meaning that people must pay the full fee even if they do not wish to use all of it.

However, for those who do require the full stay, this price is cheaper than the usual rate for 15 hours at Sophia Gardens, which is £17.60.

“People should not be treated as a cash cow simply because they drive,” Coun Davies told The Cardiffian.

“It is a shame that the council gave so little consideration to my proposal that proof of Cardiff residency be used to pay the regular parking rate instead – for them, owing a car is tantamount to some climate heresy.

“Simply put, residents should not be punished for wanting to park in the centre of their own city.”

Some residents in Cardiff argue that the difficulties of parking on event days, including the Six Nations, put “pressure on commuters and workers”.

Liam Billo, 21, a postgraduate student at Cardiff University, said: “Multi-stories can be a nightmare with event traffic and potential closures. I suppose that can have a knock-on effect for those commuters needing to park elsewhere.”

However, Joe Carter, the Liberal Democrats councillor for Pentwyn, said that he thinks the council should go further when it comes to parking charges, rather than reducing them for residents.

“I think the council needs to incentivise buses and park and rides and make it more expensive to park in the city centre,” he said, adding that parking in the city causes “unnecessary congestion and pollution”.  

The council responded to Coun Davies’ suggestion at the meeting, explaining that “These areas are in high demand,” and the revenue from parking fees is used to cover the costs of the road closures and network management during events.

They have also said that there is parking “adjacent” to these areas “that are not affected” and that “residents are able to continue to use these parking areas”.

There is on-street parking around the city but central road closures often limit access to these spaces during major events.

The Six Nations games at the Principality Stadium on February 4 and February 25 will see some of the city centre closed off to cars, which has been the case during Wales home games in previous years.

The council said: “We make the event parking available, and people have the opportunity to use these facilities, or private city centre car parks.”

National Car Parks, which are usually a popular choice among residents and visitors alike, do not increase their prices on event days, but often the city centre is completely closed off to cars during major events, blocking access to the central NCP car parks.

An option for those attending either of the Six Nations games in Cardiff is the park and ride at County Hall.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “For all events at Principality Stadium, visitors to the city are strongly advised to use the park and ride facility which is at County Hall in Cardiff Bay for the event on February 4.

“The park and ride is cheaper than the event day parking and it is easier and quicker than driving into the city centre. Avoid the congestion and the road closures by using the park & ride.”