Free parking scheme to encourage more Christmas shoppers

Incentives to encourage people into Perth and Kinross high streets for Christmas shopping will be extended to include public transport.

Councillors have approved plans to open car parks free of charge on Saturdays throughout December, after traders reporting an increase in sales when the scheme was introduced last year.

Proposals are being drawn up to offer similar incentives to public transport and cycling in future years after complaints that free parking encouraged the use of cars instead of environmentally friendly alternatives.

Christmas shoppers in Perth in a previous year

Performance and support manager Hunter Hope told Perth and Kinross Council’s environment and infrastructure committee: “We have a plan to reward people who travel using park and ride.

“We are in detailed talks with public transport organisations to reward people for travelling by sustainable transport.

“While we won’t be able to do anything this year, we will hopefully be able to offer the promotion next year.”

Labour councillor Alasdair Bailey, who called for public transport incentives last year, said: “I welcome news that this festive cheer will be extended to bus users next year and I look forward to seeing details of what we as a council will be able to offer public transport users to also incentivise them to come and shop in our great city centre and burgh towns.”

The local authority has also pledged to make this year’s free parking promotion clearer, after 330 motorists were ticketed last December for parking in areas outwith the scheme.

Payment machines will be covered up at participating car parks, while a video will be posted on social media to let shoppers know which sites are available.

A total of 28 car parks will be included, but on-street sites at Perth’s Cherry Lane, Union Street, Black Watch Gardens and Victoria Street will not be free.