An example of the bad parking affecting Park and Ride stations across the West Midlands.

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Centro to crackdown on bad parking at Park and Ride stations

Transport bosses are to crackdown on bad parking by commuters at railway stations across the West Midlands.

Centro, the region's transport authority, is making the move following increasing complaints from other motorists using the successful Park and Ride scheme.

On one occasion at Cradley Heath 170 cars were blocked in for three hours as a result of a line of vehicles parked outside of marked bays.

On another occasion 80 correctly-parked vehicles were blocked in by just one car.

Similar problems have occurred at car parks in Rowley Regis, Coseley, Wolverhampton Priestfield, Wednesbury Parkway, Selly Oak and Northfield in Birmingham, and Whitlock's End near Shirley.

In 2013 there were 80 recorded complaints, and in a two month monitoring scheme in January and February this year Centro received 20 complaints.

A car park management company could now be introduced at Park and Ride sites by the summer if the Integrated Transport Authority gives its approval at a meeting on April 28.

Offending vehicles would be issued penalty tickets but clamping is not being considered.

Stephen Rhodes, Centro director of customer experience, said the Park and Ride scheme, which offers free parking for rail users, was a victim of its own success with many sites being full by 8am.

"We are having to do this because unfortunately it has become increasingly common for users unable to find a space to just park where they can, and this has to stop," he said.

"People have been parking on double yellow lines, footpaths and disabled parking bay spaces - sometimes even before designated spaces are full just because it is less far to walk to the station - and in many cases this has caused others to be blocked in.

"As well as inconvenience to other motorists these incorrectly parked cars are also a risk to public safety, with pedestrians often forced to leave the pavement, and preventing access to the emergency services plus railway maintenance vehicles."

Centro and its partners have invested more than £15 million in Park and Ride facilities since 1997.

It has more than 7,000 spaces at 54 sites serving 40 railway stations and four Midland Metro tram stops across the region, taking around three million journeys off the region's roads each year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 6,000 tonnes.

A further 850 additional spaces will become available throughout 2014 at six sites - Longbridge, Yardley Wood, Rowley Regis, Stourbridge Junction, Four Oaks and Kings Norton.

Mr Rhodes said: "Park and Ride has been a real success story for Centro since its introduction and we are delighted it continues to prove so popular.

"But we would urge motorists who use it to plan their journeys accordingly and get to their nearest station on time to be sure of getting a space."

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