Two Bedford town centre car parks will be opened round the clock from Monday, May 19.
Lurke Street and River Street multi-storey car parks are the busiest town centre multi-storey car parks and the new 24-hour opening will provide a significant boost to the town centre, particularly for the night-time economy, says Bedford Borough Council.
New payment machines will also be installed at Lurke Street on the same day.
Councillor Charles Royden, portfolio holder for transport, said: “In 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 we have frozen town centre car park charges and we have introduced two hours free parking on Saturdays. These unprecedented four successive years of town centre car park freezes demonstrate our commitment to support our town centre businesses.
“Opening both Lurke Street and River Street multi-storey car parks 24/7 will provide a further boost for the town centre, particularly the night-time economy.
“Users have also said that they like traditional pay on foot ticket machines which do not require registration numbers to be entered and they want machines which accept cash or credit cards and give change.
“We are therefore fitting new machines which will do all of this and we will continue to do all we can to provide free or low cost parking in Bedford town centre which is both easy and convenient.
“The new 24-hour car parking will provide safe and secure parking for anyone wishing to take advantage of our excellent restaurants and bars or those wishing to catch a show or performance.”
The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) payment system which has been on trial at Lurke Street since October 2013 has provided detailed valuable information about car park usage and traffic management and will be retained.
The ANPR system will be developed across all multi-storey car parks to allow users such as season ticket holders and those registered with the autopay to access the car parks without visiting the payment machines.