More than 2,100 people have backed an Evening Telegraph campaign calling for parking fees at Ninewells Hospital to be frozen.
We launched Freeze the Fees earlier this month after Indigo Infra Dundee Ltd, which runs car parks at Ninewells on behalf of NHS Tayside as part of a 30-year contract, announced plans to increase its charges at the start of next month.
The campaign received huge support – with 2,121 readers, including staff and patients at the hospital, along with politicians – signing a petition asking Indigo to keep parking charges at existing levels until at least next November.
Having brought our petition to a close on Tuesday, we will now submit the results to Indigo in the hope that the firm, which is based in Watford, will perform a U-turn on its plans.
Many of our readers gave us their reasons for signing the petition – the vast majority insisting parking should be free of charge, but many also hitting out at the proposed rise.
Charges are due to rise from £2.30 to £2.40 for a single visit – with staff permits also going up.
Donna Hutton said: “The charges rise frequently, causing an extra financial burden on staff and families of long-term patients.”
Paula Brand, who works as a nurse at Ninewells, said: “Anything to be done in our favour is worth backing. Indigo not only continue to raise the prices of parking, they also limit the payment method to coins only.
“No card payments/notes which can cause staff to be late on shift trying to get change from shops or being stuck in the car park due to no shops being open after a late shift (9pm).”
Vicky Cameron added: “Fees are high enough. Lots of people struggle to pay them.
“Hitting people in the pocket at the worst time possible.”
Aimee Venables said: “You shouldn’t be charged for parking at a hospital full stop.
“These 10p price increases happen knowing people don’t have that random amount of change and end up paying more as the machine doesn’t give change back.”
Heather Rice added: “I work at Ninewells and think we pay enough to park there.”
Fellow staff member Louise McIntosh said: “I work as a nurse at Ninewells and think the increase is unfair and unnecessary.”
Danielle Dodds added: “We shouldn’t need to pay for visiting our hospital anyway, never mind putting the fees up.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Fraser Macpherson, whose West End ward includes the hospital, signed the petition and said: “The proposed car parking charges increases cannot be justified.”
Indigo has only made one public statement on the proposed increase, saying that the fees are reviewed every year in line with the retail price index, as per its contract with NHS Tayside.
However, it has declined to provide a full explanation for the reasons behind this increase – the third since 2016.
The health board says the parking firm has control over the fees, but any proposed increases are reviewed by NHS bosses before being approved.
The Scottish Government has rejected repeated calls for fees at the hospital to be scrapped altogether, saying that it would come at a huge cost to the public purse – meaning people will continue to be charged to park at Ninewells until at least 2029, when the current contract runs out.
Ninewells is one of only three hospitals in the country to charge visitors and staff to use its car parks.