Annual revenues from council parking operations in England have reached nearly £1 billion, new figures show.
That comprised of £673 million from on-street parking and £289 million from car parks.
The total for both types of parking was just £318 million during the previous 12 months, which was affected by coronavirus travel restrictions.
In 2018/19, before the pandemic, councils recorded a surplus of £936 million, which included £364 million from car parks.
AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: “Once again, official statistics show that councils have turned parking into a huge cash cow, not just a service to stimulate local trade and support workers and visitors.
“However, the nearly £75 million, or 20% crash in the surplus from car parks must be particularly worrying for cash-strapped councils.
“While the Covid fallout such as people working from home and the economic downturn are factors in the decline, hikes in parking charges by councils have contributed and helped to drive more shoppers online.
“In effect, many local authorities are killing the goose that lays the golden egg.”
Councils’ parking management involves operational costs but money is received through charges and fines.
“Any surplus is spent on essential transport projects, including fixing the £14 billion road repairs backlog, reducing congestion, tackling poor air quality and supporting local bus services.
“Motorists can avoid fines by ensuring they observe parking and traffic rules that are only there to help all drivers get around and find parking safely, smoothly and fairly.”