Private car parking charges – Will Government act to bring in some sensible controls?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43912327

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

This is a subject I have commented on before and one that quite clearly needs proper Government regulation to stop exploitation.

Many car parks owned by supermarkets, shopping centres and retail parks are now outsourced to parking companies who use CCTV to catch out the unwary. But I fear that the process has become one of not only managing car parks but of using them as a cash cow to make as much money as possible.

From the land owners perspective the value of all land is there to be exploited to its maximum and that includes the land on which you park your car so unless Government brings in some sensible regulation we can only expect new money making stunts to be thought of virtually anywhere we park our cars.

£100 for being a couple of minutes late is frankly ridiculous. My view is the fines should be limited and regulated so that say being 10 minutes late in moving your car leads to a £25 fine for example, 20 minutes late a £50 fine etc. etc. but with a maximum amount. Also all car park management companies should be subject to an independent appeals process and their records should be inspected.

For too long high street companies that we all do business with have been outsourcing their car parks and then saying its nothing to do with us when a problem occurs. Frankly that’s just not good enough and its treating customers poorly.

With thanks to Keith Page for the lead to this posting

Northern Train Fares – Going down the route of private car park enforcement?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/waiting-buy-ticket-northern-rail-14498902

This move made me wonder whether this new penalty scheme will in fact catch out the honest traveller as well as the deliberate fare evader?

What do you do if you are at an unstaffed station with only a ticket purchasing machine but the person ahead of you has never seen one before and is puzzling about how to work it and get the best value ticket for their journey. Oh and the train is coming too so you are not going to be able to get a ticket yourself. Do you take a chance that the guard/ticket inspector will believe you or do say oh well I’ll have to await the next train which maybe an hour later?

See what I mean? This new process could start to look like what happens where private parking companies are running supermarket or shopping centre car parks, in other words a money making process not really a parking enforcement one where you the driver are effectively guilty until proven innocent.

This worries me as I fear for train users who innocently find themselves having to justify what the ticket inspector is maybe trained to reject as the train operating company sees an opportunity to make a few bob at the same time as dealing with real ticket evaders.

With thanks to Bob for his assistance with this posting.

Maghull – Parking tickets in ‘Square’ shopping car parks

Social media locally seems to be giving a big thumbs down to the parking tickets that are being handed out ‘like confetti’, to quote one dischuffed resident, at the now privately run Maghull Square car parks.

Maghull Square

And the issue is drawing other comments about the state of the shopping centre generally; they are far from complimentary.

For what it is worth, my view is that now is a poor time to reinstate parking restrictions. The promised refurbishment of the shops is yet to happen, the car parks are hardly in the best condition – ruts and potholes – and locals have heard far too many promises that have come to nothing over many years.

rsz_toilet_campaign_02_13_lab

The Sefton Council run public toilets are also getting a panning and I am old enough to recall when they were winning awards (no kidding they really did) and Sefton was flushed with success! Sorry could not help that one. Was it a golden chain the Council won? Sadly, those of us who fought to save the toilets from closure 2 or 3 years ago are now far from happy with the state of them.

My advice to the owners? Get the Square up to scratch otherwise all that’s being achieved is giving more grief to folks who it seems are not exactly queuing up to shop there at present.

Parking – Maghull Square Shopping Centre

A broken parking ticket machine in the Leighton Ave car park on 23rd February

A broken parking ticket machine in the Leighton Ave car park on 23rd February

Parking at Maghull Square has been a muddle in recent times. First Sefton Council did not enforce its own parking regulations, and then it passed responsibility for its Maghull car parks over to a private company. Charges then came in which may have had a detrimental effect on some shops.

We Lib Dems said that this was all going to go wrong and it has. We said giving drivers just 30 minutes free parking would not be enough and so it has proved.

Now we are told that free parking is to be increased to an hour but just in one of the 3 car parks – Leighton Avenue. However, the photo above shows that last Saturday the ticket machine (the only one serving this large car park) was broken. This then leads to another problem which I discussed with a resident when I was up at Central Square with Simon Hughes MP. I was looking to get a free 30min ticket dispensed (the machine had not been updated to allow 1 hr of free parking) as was the lady I was talking to but with the machine bust and no alternative machine for that car park being available what do you do? Do you take a chance and hope the private traffic wardens understand or do you not take the chance and take your custom elsewhere? Clearly, some folks will not want to take the chance so even when the ticket machines are not working, which seems a regular thing, the effect is to force folk away from the Central Square shops.

Why was no one at at our Labour run Council listening when residents and Lib Dem councillors raised such concerns in the first place?