Commuters could soon face charges to use park and ride facilities at Birmingham railway stations because there are too popular.
Birmingham City Council said the cash would be used to help pay for multi-storey car decks to ease the burden of overcrowded car parks at stations across the city.
A meeting of the city council’s transport and street services scrutiny committee was told that car parks at stations across the region were at full capacity.
Commuters were either being forced to take their cars into clogged city centres or park on residential streets close to rail stations, Chris Haynes, head of transportation strategy said.
His report said that car parks at stations on cross city lines were all, on average, at least 92 per cent full.
Small charges could be used to pay for extensions to car parks and would discourage commuters driving from shire counties and leaving their cars at city stations rather than making their journey by train from their closest station, said Mr Haynes.
The council will now work with passenger body Centro to decide how to solve the parking crisis and proposals are expected to be unveiled later this year.
“We are pretty much at 100 per cent capacity,” he said. “Where many sites are full, Centro is looking at other strategies. We are very keen on decking but we would need planning permission for that. There may be a need for putting in some particular pay car parks.”
Mr Haynes said there were plans for 1,000 new car parking spaces which would form part of a park and ride hub at Longbridge station.
Where other car parks could not be expanded horizontally, steel decks and ramps could be erected to create extra space up to four storeys high.
The solution has helped to ease the burden on car parks on stations along the West Coast Main Line and those connected to Birmingham by Chiltern Railways.
Stations most likely to see the introduction of decking include Four Oaks and Rowley Regis. The council said it hopes to make sure that all stations on the proposed Camp Hill line, which will link Kings Heath and Moseley to the city centre if it reopens to passenger trains, have some provision for car parking.
Mr Haynes was warned by councillors that any developments would have to be sympathetic to their location and not cause an eyesore. The report said that the council had abandoned plans for park and ride services involving buses because they had proved to be unpopular in trials operated from Star City.
It is hoped that plans by Centro to develop and smart card system similar to London’s Oyster Card will encourage commuters to catch buses to rail stations because they will not be required to buy separate tickets.
Committee member Coun Tim Huxtable added: “There is no easy solution but we have got to look at doing more to encourage car sharing as well as walking and cycling.”