Coach operators visiting York’s St Nicholas Fair Christmas Market have been warned not to attempt to set down or pick up anywhere other than the off-street area provided by City of York Council (CYC), despite protests against what one industry manager describes as â€œdisgracefulâ€ charges.
The market runs from 27 November to 21 December, and operators visiting are required to book and pay for drop-off and pick-up space and parking in advance via a website.
Charges including a day’s parking and booking fee are 90.75 for the Union Terrace or St George’s Terrace coach parks, and 80.75 for Moor Lane. Quantities are strictly controlled, and the website shows that two of these locations have sold out already for 27 November. On other dates, availability is still reasonable.
These charges contrast with normal parking fees, with CYC charging 8.90 for all-day coach parking at Union Terrace on non-market days until 31 March.
â€œThe Christmas Market in York is always popular,â€ says Gary Davies, of Chipping Sodbury-based Chauffeurhire. â€œCYC says operators had been informed of these charges, but that’s untrue. They’re disgraceful.â€
CYC has defended its stance over the fees. Gill Cooper, City Centre and Market Project Manager, said: â€œThis year, improvements have been made to York’s coach management and traffic plans to manage the arrival of coach parties and welcome our visitors in an even safer way.
â€œA new and off-street drop off area right in the heart of York will mean a shorter walk for visitors, and all coach drivers will be parking on hard surface parking.â€
CYC says in September it e-mailed information on the new charges to all coach and bus operators on its database.