A rail operator has introduced a trial of new short-stay parking rates at three stations.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the operator of Southern and Thameslink services, hopes the new flexible charges will prove popular among town centre visitors.

Three stations are taking part in the pilot scheme - Brighton, Eastbourne and Lewes, chosen as their 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 until mid-February.

Until the trial, only full-day parking had been available at those stations to ensure spaces are available for commuters.

For the pilot, Eastbourne customers can choose to stay for up to an hour for £1.50, two hours for £3, or from 6pm until 3.59am for only £2.

At Lewes, visitors can stay for an hour for £2, up to two hours for £4 or the whole evening, from 6pm to 3.59am, for £1.50.

At Brighton, which already has two-hour, four-hour and six-hour rates, evening visitors can park during the trial for £6, compared with a 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.”