Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has introduced a trial of new short-stay parking rates at Eastbourne railway station.

The operator of Southern and Thameslink train services hopes the new flexible charges will prove popular among town-centre visitors.

The three stations in the pilot scheme are Brighton, Eastbourne and Lewes. These were chosen because the town and city centres have daytime and evening attractions that would benefit from more good-value, convenient parking, for flexible durations.

At Eastbourne and Lewes, new one-hour, two-hour and evening parking rates are being offered for a trial period until mid-February. 

Until the trial, only full-day parking had been available at these stations, historically to ensure the necessary spaces for commuters. However, most users have driven away by the early evening. Also, since the Covid pandemic, demand during the day has remained lower on most weekdays.

For the pilot, instead of Eastbourne’s full weekday tariff of £6.60, customers can choose to stay for up to an hour for £1.50 or two hours for £3.00, or from 6.00pm until 3.59am for only £2.00. At Lewes visitors can stay for an hour for £2.00, up to 2 hours for £4.00, or the whole evening from 6.00pm until 3.59am for just £1.50 – huge savings on the full weekday charge of £7.80.

At Brighton, which already has 2-, 4- and 6-hour rates, evening visitors can park during the trial from 6pm to 3.59am for £6.00, compared with the daytime rate of £8.90 for six hours.

GTR’s Commercial Director David Gornall said:

“We hope these more flexible choices prove popular, as we expect the new charging structure to be a win-win – good value and convenience for the local community and more revenue for the railway.

“If people in Brighton, Eastbourne and Lewes like the new tariffs we’ll make them permanent and look to extend them across more of our stations.”