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Parking Nazis

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Wednesday 29 October 2003 10.09am
Hi all,

My Housemate has recently had his car towed from our street (Pearman Street, nr Waterloo). His resident's permit had just expired, so they ticketed his car - fair enuff. But they then towed it within 90mins of issueing the ticket. This, to me, seems totally unreasonable. Surely they must realise that (most) people are at work, and you need to give them reasonable (say a working day) time to pay?

Also, he spoke to them 6 times on the phone before collecting his car, and on none of these occasions did they tell him that the cost was incrementing at the rate of 25 per day, meaning he was landed with a bill well in excess of 300.

I think he has a WR permit.......

Anyone else thing this is unfair? anyone else had similar experiences? Any ideas as to how to progress this to have the process changed?

Wednesday 29 October 2003 10.55am
Matthew I was told by one of the wardens patrolling our street that they normally give a few days grace concerning expired parking permits....your poor pal must have met one lacking in grace!

The parking shop is a good place to contact as the staff there were helpful..if you can get through...

Wednesday 29 October 2003 11.01am
Well...I'm not sure fairness has anything to with it. The thing to remember is that most of this, tickets, clamping and towing away are little to do with the much claimed control of traffic but rather a revenue opportunity.

The example is westminster council who, since the congestion charge have seen a major drop in revenue from parking 'cos lots of people have stopped driving into the area.
You would think they would use logic that says 'great! less cars, less parking, so less need for meters, spaces and wardens so less cost'. But no - they have increased the charges to try and maintain the revenue, and increased the fines and other charges as well.
Wednesday 29 October 2003 11.37am
ermm, isn't this more to do with your friend paying the price for being:

(1) forgetful - something I am quite often, but I don't think it's anyone's fault apart from my own if I have to pay a price for it;

(2) with respect, a bit naive/misguided - I'd reckon it's fairly common knowledge that if your car is towed, then there's a horrendous daily storage charge that can come to many times the cost of the initial parking ticket. I know that if my car was towed I'd first make sure to get it back PDQ and then argue my case with the council, rather than let (as I infer from the fact that he called them 6 times to discuss it before picking the car up) several days go by.

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 29 October 2003 2.35pm
I agree that you should always get your car as soon as its towed, but sometimes you don't know - its just not there when you next come to use it; the only way you find out is when you call the police to say its been nicked.

I'd agree with the point about Pure revenue raising - I have had my car parked to drop a disabled friend off in a car parking bay (i.e. not on the red route itself, but in a bay on the red-route) at 4.05 when the bay "expired" at 4:00 twice now, and have come back after literally helping my friend into his flat to find a red route fine on my car [strikes me they must be writing the tickets out whilst hiding down side alleys waiting to pounce - unless they can write very fast indeed]

Plus, Southwark has a habit of giving one days notice on parking bay suspensions then towing cars the following day - a bit of a paradox that old Ken wants us to leave our cars at home, but we are simultaneously obliged to visit them every day in case that Southwark decides it has a burning desire to dig up the road and take all cars present with it.

Plus the time they put 5 tickets on my car in a week for an expired parking permit, as they were changing the permits over to split Zone C in two.... I could go on boring you, but the bottom line is I think 90% of the time it is Pure greed, and striking at people they know will pay up - the soft underbelly.
Wednesday 29 October 2003 2.50pm
I was also told that they only tow away newish or decent cars, as no on wants to pay a ny charges if their car is a bit tatty? Has anyone had their old banger towed?

Wednesday 29 October 2003 4.03pm
I've got no torch to carry for traffic wardens, but rules are rules.

If a person gets disqualified for running someone over after being just a few milligrams over the permitted blood alcohol level, or if someone's not insured when they run into you because they just forgot to renew their motor insurance by the odd day or two, then where would everyones sympthies lie?

This is just the other side of the coin. It is, sometimes, seemingly harsh, but that's the way society works (law not "justice").

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 29 October 2003 4.44pm
my friend was visiting me up here. He arrived at about 2 AM and parked outside (admittedly in a disabled spot). We were in my flat for about 10 minutes. By the time we had gone down to move his car into the underground car park, he had a 50 ticket.

what muppet works at 2 AM on a Saturday night??
Wednesday 29 October 2003 5.14pm
Yeah, but I think one has to be careful in the letter of the law and interpretation of the law. We all accept that you need to enforce rules, or why have them, but there are areas of grey and leniancy which make life simpler for everyone. I might add that in the case where they plastered my car in 5 consecutive tickets (owing to their mistake) I appealed, and after numerous letters back and forth, the whole thing was overturned. I'd estimate in total about 300-500 of council man-hours consumed on the whole prcoess, start to finish, plus the waste of my own time. Where's the sense in that?

I wouldn't mind them being so fascist about parking "crime" if they could actually do something about people being knifed to death in SE1, old ladies being mugged, etc. Furthermore, this black and white and no grey attitude of parking wardens risks breeding comtempt for the system as it increasingly appears to be run by jobsworths, apparatchniks, call them what you will....

its a difficult one as you could well argue that "give em an inch and they'll take a mile" but it seems that they are giving violent criminals a marathon and not even hinting they might call time on their antics. I think that's why people might feel a bit grieved at receiving pre-written tickets; its not like you were willing or intending to leave the car there forever, its just that you returned two minutes later than you expected. No buses delayed, no one killed, world still in orbit.

I live in France now, and I have to say that the police here seem to busy themselves with real crimes. Parking wardens are not on every corner, but things still seem to work pretty well on the roads, and what's more, I don't notice any "Crime creep" as it were - i.e. - I've gotten away with parking my car illegally, so I might turn my hand to robbing that old lady next. If anything, there's more respect for the law, as one knows that if you are pulled for something, its going to have to be serious.
Wednesday 29 October 2003 5.14pm
WOW! So that's what Arnie did in between filming T3 and running for governor!! -)

I'll always remember, many years ago (before it became common to expect traffic wardens to pop up behind bushes with pre-written tickets) nearly dropping my glass in shock when sitting outside a pub in Bath at closing time on a Sunday night and in the time it took to finish my last pint seeing a traffic warden coming along and writing a ticket for a car on yellow lines, and then seeing the tow truck coming about 10 min's later and taking the car away!

Your friend has been really unlucky, but given the way human nature works (i.e. we'll all break a rule if we think we'll get away with it), then what's a workable alternative to having rules and sticking by them?

(Just a thought, but in the same way that there are council noise squads that are - supposedly - on call 24/7 and will respond to a call, do you think that there are flying squads of parking wardens? And if so, then do you think that someone could conceivably spilt the beans on your friend for parking in a disabled space?)

...if you press it, they will come.
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