Glasgow City Council have raked in nearly £15m from parking fines in the past three years, figures have shown.
Shopkeepers have urged for more consideration to be given to the cost of parking in town, as footfall in the city centre has dropped massively during the pandemic.
Charges were also suspended for four months in 2020 to support key workers at the start of the pandemic and were reintroduced in July last year.
Figures obtained by the Herald revealed Glasgow City Council collected £5,931,583 from 2018 to 2019 from parking charges in the inner city zone.
This rose to £6,391,727 the following year when Sunday parking charges were introduced.
Collections dropped to £2,285,785 during the pandemic, from April 2020 to April 2021.
According to the council, operating costs for parking are around £2m.
Soni Ahmed, co-founder of MAIA Gifts on Bath Street, said: “Christmas accounts for 60% of our year so it’s such a vital part of us being able to sustain the rest of the year.
“It keeps us going through the quieter months of January and February when nobody wants to think about gifts at all.
“It’s been a bit of a slow burner this year.
“Footfall is down in the city, we rely a lot on the city worker.”
Figures show shopping footfall dropped by 22% last month compared to two years ago and prior to the pandemic.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said efforts to reduce cars must be balanced with support for the struggling high street as visitors to out-of-town shopping centres such as Silverburn can park free of charge 24 hours a day.
Mr Lonsdale said: “Our city centres have a great deal to offer.
“However, I know from speaking to many shopkeepers that they view costly and restrictive parking as a real bugbear for shoppers and something which holds back footfall.
“If we are to see greater levels of shopper footfall on Glasgow’s streets and a more vibrant city centre as we recover from the pandemic then new thinking is urgently required, with parking made easier and much more affordable.”
In the year to March 2019, the department of neighbourhoods, regeneration and sustainability spent roughly £160m, with more than £50m generated through earned income, fees and charges.
A council source said: “If you didn’t have that £50m (and the parking charges within it), would you do less – spend less on roads (£20m), street cleaning (£19m) or refuse collection and disposal (£70m) – or charge more, and for what – cremations and burials, parking?”.
More recently, the council has unveiled possible plans to charge Glasgow residents in their own neighbourhoods based on the level of emissions from vehicles.
The move, which is already being introduced in Edinburgh, would see residents’ parking permit costs calculated on how polluting their vehicles are.
The council is also looking at introducing charges for workplace parking in the city, with cash raised going towards boosting sustainable transport.
The levy would involve a workplace licensing scheme – with the employer paying for a licence. It aims to encourage more employees to ditch the car and travel to work in a sustainable way.
A rollout of neighbourhood parking permits is also continuing with the latest in North Kelvin provoking anger from residents, who say the area is facing longer daily restrictions that other parts of the city.