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.