Parking tickets and fines

Lots in the news on parking and the unfairness of half the tickets seemingly issued. Quite right too. I have always been a great supporter of parking regulations and proper enforcement – when the purpose is safety, traffic flow, helping businesses by providing a steady flow of parking spaces through the day (i.e. by stopping people taking up a space all day) and so on – but above all where those plans are suitable for the local circumstances and have been properly consulted on.

It is difficult to be a supporter, however, as the reality on the ground is so often just the opposite of the benefits promised: tickets issued wrongly, cameras positioned to rake in revenue, CPZs badly designed, confusing signing which seems to serve only to trap the innocent to making a mistake – and the good guys who find a meter and pay the tariff and get back a minute late find they have the same astronomical fine – and the bastard who parks dangerously on yellow lines, has no insurance and no license gets away with not paying their ticket.

If we are to continue to support proper regulation then it’s time councils got their act together. Wardens need proper training and common sense – that would be a start. Councils that issue tickets wrongly should be fined in proportion to that number – and that is quite substantial. Basically – the good motorist should not find that they are put to time and trouble to fight a ticket that shouldn’t have been issued or is the result of poor signing or warden error!

When I was Chair of Transport in London I carried out an investigation of parking enforcement in London – and found so many faults with the system that we made dozens of recommendations to improve and make fair this system which is now falling into disrepute and which makes the good citizen very, very angry.

One of the recommendations was about the relative ‘crimes’ of being a minute over on a meter compared with say two hours. Westminster Council took up the recommendation that the lower offence receive a lower fine. There are still many other good recommendations in that report which are clearly still badly needed if we are to have a fair system.

And yes – we should all try and use public transport more and cars less – but when people do use their cars they should be treated fairly.

0 thoughts on “Parking tickets and fines

  1. Yes agree.Parking fines are out of proportion to the offence committed, especially when someone returns to their car a few minutes too late.Parking fines also lack relativity with fines levied for criminal acts such as violent affray. The latter would earn you a criminal record.But consider how easily can one earn a £250 parking fine as compared with how much violence would it take to earn a fine of the same £250?

  2. Given that the parking enforcement problems of unfairness and errors are widespread, where are the LD proposals for resolving the problem? Not by centralising, please, but as just one outcome from proposing a way by which local government will become more responsible. The Fresh Start for Britain [1] doesn't help, glibly mentioning Building a Fair Society but with nothing about how to do that except mentions of fair taxation and the child's start in life. Jonathan Calder has twice been critical of Fresh Start under his Liberal Democrat topic [2] (and please read the comments there as well), but I find very little criticism at LD Voice – there ought to be a storm there. Nick writes glibly about decentralising, as others do, but that always seems to me to be ducking the real problem of an arrogant state that gives local authority officers the green light to do the same but more so.[1]

  3. Why does Haringey council insist in extending the CPZ in the Fortis Green ward? This area is a significant distance from the tube station and is simply a tax on residents who live in the area. The CPZ falls under the remit of environmental policy of Haringey, but it simply a money making exercise. There has always been sufficient parking in this area for all the cars. Now you have empty roads where CPZ is enforced. This system has been badly thought out and is just a way to maintain Haringey's inept accounting.

  4. Parked in Muswell Hill on Saturday morning at 9am. Got a ticket at 9.03am. The signs say pay and display from 9.30 am. That is what people will look at. Above that sign there is a smaller sign that indicates no loading, stopping, waiting from 8-9.30. This seems deliberately signed to catch the innocent. I will shop elsewhere in future.