Sunday 6 June 2004 12.05am
Yup, that's about it. People on Tooley Street
have been experiencing this problem next to Potters Fields park for at least the last 8 years or so.
Southwark's contractors do in fact (I'm told - have never actually witnessed it) have wheelclamps big enough for coaches - but only two of them, the last I heard. Besides they're not interested in keeping the coach where it is, but in moving it on. They're also not interested because most of the coaches that park in these places are tourist vehicles from overseas and there's no point issuing a ticket when the bus will be out of the country by the time any enforcement action comes to be taken. It will therefore cost them money to come and issue a ticket and they won't recover this expenditure through payment of the parking ticket fee - hence it is a loss-making activity to issue the ticket in the first place. Another joyful side-effect of contracting out and privatisation...
The police will get involved (in my experience) if it is actually blocking the entire highway and the London traffic wardens (as opposed to Southwark's ones) may just take action if it is occuring on a red route.
This is an issue you will probably need to lobby your GLA assembly member on, to put pressure on TfL to achieve any turnaround since it will require concerted action and a change of policy when it comes to taking enforcement action: they'll probably need a database of London-wide parking infractions by coaches so that the next time the same overseas coach returns to the UK and parks illegally it can be nabbed and impounded before it has a chance to leave again. It is only action like this which will put pressure on foreign coach operators. Then again, if you're governing London, what are you more worried about - annoying a few Londoners or protecting the economic good to London of all those foreign coach tours which result in lots of money being spent in the capital?
[slaps own wrist for being so cynical]