The surge in vehicles stolen from railway station car parks

  • Sevenoaks is the UK’s worst railway station for vehicle thefts – 14 stolen between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019
  • Commuter towns: ten worst stations for vehicle thefts are all within an hour of London
  • St Albans Station: vehicle thefts have dropped 77% in the past 12 months 
  • More than a third (39%) of thefts from stations were scooters, mopeds or motorbikes

The number of vehicles stolen from railway station car parks has almost trebled in five years, according to official British Transport Police data analysed by Motorway.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by Motorway.co.uk, reveals that the number of vehicles (cars, scooters, mopeds and motorbikes) stolen from train station car parks has increased by 198% since 2014/15. 

The latest figures from the British Transport Police reveal that 414 vehicles were stolen from train station car parks between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019. This compares to just 139 thefts between 1st  April 2014 and 31st March 2015.

The most popular vehicle brands targeted by thieves were; Honda (67), Ford (47), Yamaha (46), Piaggio (32), Land Rover (18), Vespa (17), BMW (15), Range Rover (12) and Audi (11).  More than a third (39%) of vehicles stolen were scooters, mopeds or motorbikes. 

Railway stations are a hotbed of vehicle theft across the UK
Railway stations are a hotbed of vehicle theft across the UK

The figures also reveal that London commuter stations have the worst record for vehicle thefts. The top ten stations for thefts were all within an hour of the capital.

Sevenoaks is the worst UK train station for thefts, with 14 vehicles stolen from the car park between April 2018 and March 2019. Brighton recorded 10 thefts during the same period.

In the previous 12-months, St Albans City was officially the worst station, with 22 recorded vehicle thefts. But numbers have fallen dramatically in the past year, down by more than three-quarters (77%) according to the latest crime figures.

Network Rail owns and operates the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland and Wales including 20 of the largest stations. The other train stations, of which there are more than 2,500, are managed by the train operating companies.

The following table shows which UK train stations have recorded the highest number of vehicle thefts between the start of April 2018  and end of March 2019.

Railway stationCountyFastest Time/Distance to LondonNumber of thefts
Sevenoaks  Kent32 mins/21 miles14
BrightonSussex52 mins/47 miles10
Ebbsfleet InternationalKent18 mins/20 miles8
HaslemereSurrey48 mins/39 miles8
GodalmingSurrey43 mins/31 miles7
HildenboroughKent27 mins/25 miles7
BeaconsfieldBuckinghamshire20 mins/22 miles6
CambridgeCambridgeshire47 mins/47 miles5
FarnboroughHampshire34 mins/31 miles5
Harlow TownEssex29 mins/20 miles5

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway comments:

“These figures make depressing reading for commuters who split their journey into work across road and train. The rise in railways station thefts has been turbo-charged by the growth in popularity of scooters and mopeds, which are an easy target for thieves. 

“Although most, if not all, stations car parks will have CCTV cameras, that doesn’t mean your vehicle won’t be targeted. Seasoned criminals know how to quickly gain access to cars, and many aren’t bothered by on-site security. 

“Motorbikes, mopeds and scooters are particularly vulnerable, so ensure you have multiple security measures in place; such as wheel locks and clamps plus heavy-duty chain link or brake disc locks to make your vehicle less appealing to opportunistic criminals.”

Council electric car charging points – Westminster council powers ahead


  • An FOI request reveals that Westminster has the highest concentration of EV charging points with 1.47 per 1000 population
  • Bexley is the only London borough with no public charging points
  • Milton Keynes has the highest concentration of EV charging points of any other UK town/city (excluding London), with 0.83 per 1000 population 
  • Hull, Northampton, Mansfield and Swansea have no public charging points
  • Note: Charging points on private land weren’t considered for this research

The London borough of Westminster has 375 public electric vehicle (EV) charging points, more than anywhere else in the country, according to research by Motorway.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all London boroughs and major UK town and city councils, made by Motorway, reveals that Westminster, one of the wealthiest areas in the country, also has the highest concentration of EV charging points with 1.47 per 1000 population. The council say they plan to have 468 public charging points installed by the end of the year.

Three other boroughs – Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and Wandsworth – each have more than 200 public electric vehicle charging points. While, Bexley is the only borough which hasn’t installed any public charging points to date, although the council plans to have 13 points operational by the end of the year.

london council electric car charging points
London has a high concentration of council-funded electric car charging points vs. other UK areas

Outside London, Milton Keynes, with a population of 230,000, has the highest concentration of EV charging points, with 0.83 per 1000 population, and 192 points across the town. Nottingham with 215 charging points has more than any other UK town/city.

Kingston Upon Hull, Mansfield, Northampton and Swansea currently have no public electric vehicle charging points. These are all major towns with more than 150,000 population.

The government recently announced a £400 million investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with half funded by private sector partners. It hopes to have 5,000 rapid charging points operational by 2024.

The following table shows the UK towns/cities (excluding London) with the highest and lowest concentration of public EV charging points.

Town/CityPopulationNumber of EV charging  points – currentEV charging points per 1000 population
Milton  Keynes229,9411920.83
Aberdeen196,9041000.51
Newcastle upon Tyne192,382750.39
Coventry185,4261220.34
Nottingham326,4742150.29
Edinburgh239,1421300.28
Mansfield171,95800.00
Northampton215,96300.00
Swansea300,35200.00
Kingston upon Hull314,01800.00

The following table shows London boroughs with the highest concentration of EV charging points.

London BoroughPopulationNumber of EV charging  points – currentEV charging points per 1000 population
Westminster (City of)255,3243751.47
Richmond upon Thames196,9042651.35
Hammersmith & Fulham185,4262161.16
Wandsworth326,4742500.77
Islington239,1421660.69

N.B. Boroughs of Brent and Hillingdon did not provide figures 

The following table shows London boroughs with the lowest concentration of EV charging points.

London BoroughPopulationNumber of EV charging  points – currentEV charging points per 1000 population
Bexley247,25800.00
Enfield333,86990.03
Harrow250,14970.03
Newham352,005100.03
Redbridge303,858110.04

The London borough of Westminster has 375 public electric vehicle (EV) charging points, more than anywhere else in the country, according to research by Motorway.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all London boroughs and major UK town and city councils, made by Motorway, reveals that Westminster, one of the wealthiest areas in the country, also has the highest concentration of EV charging points with 1.47 per 1000 population. The council say they plan to have 468 public charging points installed by the end of the year.

Three other boroughs – Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and Wandsworth – each have more than 200 public electric vehicle charging points. While, Bexley is the only borough which hasn’t installed any public charging points to date, although the council plans to have 13 points operational by the end of the year.

Outside London, Milton Keynes, with a population of 230,000, has the highest concentration of EV charging points, with 0.83 per 1000 population, and 192 points across the town. Nottingham with 215 charging points has more than any other UK town/city.

Kingston Upon Hull, Mansfield, Northampton and Swansea currently have no public electric vehicle charging points. These are all major towns with more than 150,000 population.

The government recently announced a £400 million investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with half funded by private sector partners. It hopes to have 5,000 rapid charging points operational by 2024.

The following table shows the UK towns/cities (excluding London) with the highest and lowest concentration of public EV charging points.

Town/CityPopulationNumber of EV charging  points – currentEV charging points per 1000 population
Milton  Keynes229,9411920.83
Aberdeen196,9041000.51
Newcastle upon Tyne192,382750.39
Coventry185,4261220.34
Nottingham326,4742150.29
Edinburgh239,1421300.28
Mansfield171,95800.00
Northampton215,96300.00
Swansea300,35200.00
Kingston upon Hull314,01800.00

The following table shows London boroughs with the highest concentration of EV charging points.

London BoroughPopulationNumber of EV charging  points – currentEV charging points per 1000 population
Westminster (City of)255,3243751.47
Richmond upon Thames196,9042651.35
Hammersmith & Fulham185,4262161.16
Wandsworth326,4742500.77
Islington239,1421660.69

N.B. Boroughs of Brent and Hillingdon did not provide figures 

The following table shows London boroughs with the lowest concentration of EV charging points.

London BoroughPopulationNumber of EV charging  points – currentEV charging points per 1000 population
Bexley247,25800.00
Enfield333,86990.03
Harrow250,14970.03
Newham352,005100.03
Redbridge303,858110.04

N.B. Boroughs of Brent and Hillingdon did not provide figures

Alex Buttle, director of car selling comparison website Motorway said: 

“UK government has a mammoth task on its hands to create an EV charging infrastructure that can cope with the expected growth in electric car ownership over the next 20 years. In fact its own 2040 switchover target from fossil fuels depends on it. 

“Although we only looked at public, not private charging points (and home charging will make up a significant number of points), there will still be a huge reliance on public charging infrastructure. And it’s severely lacking at present.

“Figures supplied by local councils suggest a worrying disparity between towns and cities with the highest and lowest concentrations of charging points. While some areas have made significant progress in building a capable charging infrastructure, other areas appear to be well behind the curve. The ramifications on local economies of a substandard charging infrastructure could be severe.

“There is also a more pressing issue. The government is trying to encourage people to switch to electric cars, but many vehicle owners are reluctant to do so until they are confident that the  infrastructure is fit for purpose. 

“We carried out a survey of UK drivers recently and an inadequate charging infrastructure was the most common reason cited by respondents as to why they wouldn’t consider switching to an electric car over the next five years. 

“Brexit is understandably at the top of the government’s agenda at the moment, but it’s in danger of taking its eyes off this huge infrastructure challenge, and a public that has no faith in the charging programme,  is unlikely to buy into the idea of early switching.”

More than 200,000 penalty notices given since ULEZ launched in London in April 2019

  • FOI request reveals more than 2,000,000 drivers have paid the ULEZ charge
  • Over 30,000 drivers have received more than one PCN for non-payment of the ULEZ charge
  • Worst offending driver has received 81 PCNs for non-payment of the ULEZ daily charge

More than 2,000,000 drivers have paid the ULEZ daily charge, and over 200,000 penalty charge notices (PCNs) have been handed out to drivers for non-payment of the charge, since it was launched in London in April, according to research by Motorway.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge is paid by drivers whose vehicles fail the tough new exhaust emissions standards introduced in central London, to help improve air quality.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by Motorway.co.uk in September to Transport for London (TfL), revealed that 223,952 penalty notices were handed out between May 11 and August 31, to drivers of high polluting vehicles who failed to pay the central London toxic air levy.

Almost 32,000 drivers (31,783) have received more than one penalty ticket since ULEZ was launched and the worst offender has amassed a staggering 81 penalty notices between May 11 and August 31, which could mean she has had to pay fines up to £13,000. 

Car, motorcycle and van drivers who fail to pay the daily charge of £12,50, face a £160 fine, or £80 if paid within a fortnight. While, HGV and coach drivers, who have to pay a higher daily charge of £100, face a £1000 fine, or £500 if paid within 14  days.

Transport for London confirmed that until 10 May they issued warning notices rather than PCNs, because the ULEZ scheme was new.

Motorway.co.uk research found that over two million vehicles (2,124,404) have paid the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge between launch and August 31, generating almost £31 million for TfL. Of this, £25.9 million was paid by car, motorcycle and van drivers (ULEZ Low charge of £12.50) and £4.8 million by HGV and coach drivers (ULEZ High charge of £100). 

The following table shows the number of charges purchased per month between 8 April and 31 August 2019, broken down by high (HGVs and coaches) and low (cars, motorcycles and vans) ULEZ categories:

MonthULEZ HighULEZ LowTotal
April8,301337,812346,113
May11,864484,843496,707
June10,195459,572469,767
July10,504453,973464,477
August7,236340,104347,340
Total48,1002,076,3042,124,404

The following table lists the total revenue raised per month from charges purchased between 8 April and 31 August 2019, broken down by high and low categories.

MonthULEZ HighULEZ LowTotal
Apr£ 830,100.00£ 4,222,650.00£ 5,052,750.00
May£ 1,186,400.00£ 6,060,537.50£ 7,246,937.50
Jun£ 1,019,500.00£ 5,744,650.00£ 6,764,150.00
Jul£ 1,050,400.00£ 5,674,662.50£ 6,725,062.50
Aug£ 723,600.00£ 4,251,300.00£ 4,974,900.00
Total£ 4,810,000.00£ 25,953,800.00£ 30,763,800.00

The table provided here shows how many PCNs we issued per month for non-payment of the ULEZ daily charge between 11 May and 31 August.

MonthPCN
May41,008
June74,630
July67,386
August40,928
Total223,952

The table below shows the total revenue raised per month from PCNs issued between 11 May and 31 August 2019 broken down by high and low categories.

These figures do not take account of the costs of running the scheme and therefore show revenue raised rather than net income.

MonthSum of Amount Paid
May£ 2,509,618.50
June£ 3,896,540.50
July£ 3,067,243.49
August£ 1,148,599.50
Total£ 10,622,001.99

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway comments: 

“Judging by the drop in polluting cars being driven in central London since ULEZ was launched in April and a general fall in traffic, it feels like the scheme is doing its job.

“Something had to be done with London facing a public health crisis. The electric car switch-over can’t come quick enough, but until it does, ULEZ shows there is a genuine commitment to tackle London’s toxic air. And that commitment is proving successful.

“While ULEZ was not about generating money for councils, it has nevertheless brought in more than £40m in charges and penalty notices in the six months since launch. 

“Schemes like ULEZ should always be about the health and well-being of people living in major urban areas.”

“Although pollution levels are still unacceptably high in the capital, the success of ULEZ proves that similar clean air zones can and should be urgently rolled out across the country.”

Three quarters of a million MOT tests were still carried out in April 2020, despite motorists having a six month grace period due to COVID-19

Almost three-quarters of a million MOT tests* were still carried out in April 2020, despite the government giving motorists a six-month MOT holiday from 30th March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

An FOI request made by Motorway to the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), revealed that 746,157 MOTs took place across the UK in April.  

The number of tests were down 80% on the previous month – with 3,723,524 motorists taking their vehicles in for an MOT in March. Just over 3.5 million MOTs were carried out in April 2019. 

Perth in Central Scotland saw the biggest drop in MOTs last month, with tests down 85.7% compared to March. Inverness saw 85.6% fewer MOTs in April vs March.

More than 20,000 motorists in the Birmingham area (21,324) took their vehicles in for an MOT in April, and 18,170 tests were carried out by garages in the ‘S’ postcode area (Sheffield) last month.

Despite testing falling significantly in April, it’s surprising there were still almost 750,000 inspections carried out last month, after the government announced an MOT holiday.

Any motorists with an MOT due from 30th March have automatically been given a six-month extension. However, vehicles still have to be kept in a roadworthy condition, with garages remaining open for essential repair works.

The following table shows postcode areas with the largest drop in MOTs in April vs March 2020

PostcodePostcode AreaMOTs – March 2020MOTs – April 2020% drop in test numbers
PHPerth11,5351,65485.7%
IVInverness16,4192,36985.6%
CACarlisle22,3173,45684.5%
LDLlandrindod Wells3,37052984.3%
PAPaisley17,5422,76584.2%
CHChester42,7347,00583.6%
SASwansea49,0748,22983.2%
SYShrewsbury25,4954,30483.1%
UBSouthall17,7172,99683.1%
BRBromley13,8462,34383.1%

The following table shows postcode areas where the most MOTs were carried out in April 2020

PostcodePostcode AreaMOTs – April 2020
BBirmingham21,324
SSheffield18,170
NGNottingham15,115
BSBristol14,246
PEPeterborough12,988

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway comments: 

“These figures from the DVSA show that despite motorists having the opportunity to postpone their MOT test, many have chosen not to do so. There could be a number of reasons why; with general car maintenance, ongoing value and safety issues likely at the forefront of many drivers’ minds.

“Saying that, the number of MOTs in April was still substantially lower than March figures, and we expect to see a similar low level of testing in May, as lockdown restrictions have only been eased slightly this month.

“From a cost point of view, cash strapped car owners might consider delaying their MOT for the full six months, but the reality is that the cost of a test is small compared to the human cost if you’re driving a car that has a serious fault or defect.

“Motorists will often have their vehicle serviced at the same time as the MOT, and delaying the test could also mean delaying the annual service, which could flag up mechanical and safety issues that need to be addressed urgently.

“Many garages are still open for MOTs, and anyone driving an older vehicle, which tend to be more susceptible to problems due to wear and tear, might be wise to take their car in close to the original MOT date to give it a full check and service. It will give them the peace of mind that it’s in good condition and mechanically sound at the present time.

”And if owners are looking to protect the value of their car for selling in the future, then a heavily-delayed MOT may be an issue for some buyers. 

“To boost your offer when you sell to a dealer on our website at Motorway.co.uk, we recommend main-dealer servicing and regular MOTs. 

“Even if you can delay, it may be more cost efficient to get the MOT done sooner rather than later to protect your car’s ongoing value.”

Motorway service update

Updated 12/11/2020: We are open for business during the current lockdown. All transactions are completed contact-free.

This post outlines how our service is affected by the current COVID-19 situation and lockdown restrictions in England due to end on Wednesday 2nd December, and what you can expect if you sign up to compare prices on our website at this time.

Motorway works with thousands of dealerships and instant buyers around the UK to provide a range of offers for your car with a single search – helping you find your best deal as quickly as possible.

We will do all we can to secure you the best price possible at the present time, but some final offers may be lower than in normal conditions. Please note that you are under no obligation to accept any offer provided.

To keep you safe, buyers and dealers are purchasing vehicles following social distancing guidelines. All buyers on Motorway buy and collect cars in a contact-free manner.

Please continue to sign up on Motorway, or you can get in touch with questions at any time. You can email us at hello@motorway.co.uk or call our team on 0203 988 2266 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 5.30pm). We are always here to help.

Thank you for your patience. We will update this page as further info becomes available.

Contact-free car selling – how Motorway is keeping sellers and buyers safe

The coronavirus pandemic has caused changes to every UK industry in the past couple of months, and the car trade is no different. Since lockdown restrictions were put in place, it’s not been possible to sell your car easily, with dealerships closing their doors, and car transactions deemed non-essential.

To adhere to the lockdown restrictions and ensure the safety of all our customers and staff, Motorway decided to pause trading for the duration of the March to May 2020 lockdown. 

There’s now light at the end of the tunnel. As all of us in the car industry see restrictions lifting, Motorway has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that when we help our customers buy and sell cars, we do so in a safe, responsible way – and still make sure everyone gets the best possible deal.

This post outlines how we’re ensuring the safety of all our car sellers and buying partners for the challenging months ahead.

A good deal is now a safe deal

Before coronavirus, a great deal on a car meant three things: the right price, a quick process, and minimum hassle for all involved. Since 2017, Motorway has been helping people achieve this by bringing all the best buyers together in one place, providing instant offers to sellers of every kind of car, and making sure buyers are connected to the right seller, instantly.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect all of us for the foreseeable future, we need to add the safety of sellers and buyers as a key factor in every offer we present.

Contact-free transactions for everyone

We have worked with every buyer on the Motorway platform – from online buyers, to major dealer groups and independent dealerships, to ensure they can all buy cars from sellers in a compliant, contact-free process.

We will now only show deals on Motorway where we know the buyer is able to transact in this way. To make this extra clear, we have outlined the detail of each buyer’s guidelines where we can, with links to more information where available.

Motorway’s contact-free code of conduct

For individual car dealers on our Motorway Pro auction platform, we’ve put together a Code of Conduct, which everyone has to adhere to in order to buy from our sellers. 

This ensures that the collection will happen according to a strict set of guidelines to protect both the buyer and the seller. You can read this Code of Conduct here.

Making contact-free easy: free transport for every buyer

We know that contact-free vehicle transport poses challenges for some buyers, particularly those that don’t have big in-house logistics teams. We want to support our dealers through this transition, and further ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

So, we are going to be paying for the transport and inspection element on behalf of dealers, for two car purchases for each dealer in the first few weeks after restrictions are lifted. See details of the offer here.

Having two free inspections and collections will provide our dealers a great springboard to get back to trading with one of the biggest cost and hassle removed.

Our team has worked closely with our logistics partner, We Deliver Cars, to offer a consistent, safe process to everyone, and make that as easy as possible for every buyer to get started. And we’re doing this at no cost to the buyer for their first two purchases through Motorway after restrictions are lifted. 

We have thousands of buyers on the Motorway platform to support, so this is a big investment for us. But we felt it was our responsibility to help get the car trade moving again in a safe way, support our buyers and sellers, and do so as quickly as possible.

Getting back to business

This has been a challenging year for every business in the UK. We have been working harder than ever to release lots of great improvements to the platform, make it easier than ever to sell a car, and for dealers to acquire the best stock online. 

We are looking forward to pushing service levels in the industry to new heights as we enter the new normal.

If you have any questions about our service, or how you can ensure your safety when you sell your car, feel free to email our team at any time.

Twitter competition terms and conditions

Motorway is the promoter of this free competition. Subject to these Terms and Conditions, all persons who re-tweet and like the specified tweet on The Motorway Twitter page (the “Tweet”), in addition to following the Twitter account @MotorwayHQ before the stipulated closing deadline will be entered into a free competition as set out on Twitter to win the prize detailed in the Tweet.

  • This Competition is open to anyone aged at least 18 years who is UK resident, excluding employees of the Promoter or any of its affiliated companies
  • Entries must be made by re-tweeting the Tweet and following Motorway on Twitter. Entries received after the stipulated closing time will be invalid and will not be included in the Competition.
  • Any instructions provided in the Tweet form part of the Terms and Conditions of the Competition, but in the event of a conflict, these Terms and Conditions take precedence. Entries not complying with these Terms and Conditions will be invalid.
  • The Prize shall be the prizes indicated in the Tweet. The contents of the prize may be altered slightly at Motorway’s discretion after the competition end date.
  • No payment is required to enter the Competition.
  • The winner(s) will be selected from all eligible entries received before the Competition closing time, at the discretion of the Promoter. The winner(s) will be notified following the Competition closing time, firstly by tweet and then by direct mail to the winner(s) Twitter account if possible. In the event that the winner fails to respond to the Promoter to confirm its acceptance of the Prize within a reasonable period of time (e.g. 72 hours), the Promoter reserves the right to forfeit the Prize or select an alternative winner from the Competition.
  • The Promoter reserves the right to provide substitute prize(s) of similar value in the event that the specified Prize is unavailable for reasons beyond its control.
  • The winner(s) may be required to participate in publicity connected with the Competition and in entering the Competition, entrants agree to their name and country of residence being made publicly available if they win.
  • The Promoter accepts no responsibility for incorrectly completed, lost or delayed entries, notices, acceptances, tickets or other documents related to the Prize.
  • The decision of the Promoter is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The Promoter reserves the right to suspend, cancel or amend the Competition and/or review and revise these Terms and Conditions at any time without giving prior notice. By continuing to take part in the Competition subsequent to any revision of these Terms and Conditions, entrants shall be deemed to have agreed to any such new or amended terms.
  • As a winner, you will release the Promoter and its affiliates, partners and employees from any and all liability, claims, demands, and causes of action for personal injury and or damage, theft, or loss suffered in connection with the Competition or the use or acceptance of the Prize or any portion thereof save where due to the negligence of the Promoter or its affiliates, partners and employees.
  • If any provision of these Terms and Conditions is held to be invalid by a court of law or similar, such invalidity shall not affect the enforceability of any other provisions not held to be invalid.
  • This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter. Entries which do not comply with the terms of use of Twitter shall not be considered. For further information, see www.twitter.com/tos.  
  • You are providing your information to the Promoter and not to Twitter. The information you provide will only be used for the purposes of contacting you in the event that you are drawn as a winner of the Competition.
  • As a participant and/or winner, you will fully release Twitter from any and all liability, claims, demands, and causes of action for personal injury and or damage, theft, or loss suffered in connection with this Competition or the use or acceptance of the Prize or any portion thereof whatsoever.