COUNCILLORS have been told increasing car parking charges could cut congestion by encouraging people to use public transport.

The claim, made by Jim Bradley from sustainable transport consultants Integrated Transport Planning, said councils needed to remove the “incentive” of cheap long stay parking and focus on supporting bus services as the key parts of future plans to reduce congestion on the county’s roads.

Speaking to Worcestershire County Council’s economy and environment overview and scrutiny panel, Mr Bradley pointed to the average cost of £4.66 for all-day parking across Worcestershire and compared it to the average cost of a daily bus ticket of £3.80.

The £3.80 average cost of an all-day bus ticket for the county is higher than the average all-day parking charge for Worcester and Malvern and the same as parking charges in Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore.

The recommendation was laughed off by Councillor Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, who said putting up charges would be the “completely wrong solution” and saying that cheaper fees was putting off people using the bus was “totally nonsense.”

He said: “Putting up parking charges is not going to make travelling on the buses more attractive.

“Parking charges in the city are reasonable and they are certainly not excessive.

“High Streets are having the most difficult time in their economic history and councils need to do all they can to make them as vibrant as possible.

“Putting up charges just forces people to use out of town shops.

“What we are trying to do is stimulate the economy and make the city centre a vibrant place to visit. Putting up charges is the last thing we should be doing.”