Monday, 23 September 2013

How much does John Lennon Airport make from outsourcing parking?

How much is the right to enforce airport parking worth? A lot!

Vehicle Control Systems Limited make a lot of money at John Lennon Airport in Liverpool. They put up unreadable signs, then patrol the airport roads with smart cars equipped with periscope cameras, trapping unsuspecting motorists who stop to drop off passengers. Unsurprisingly, this annoys a lot of motorists who are unaware that this is not allowed until they get a charge in the post. Not everyone at the airport likes or agrees with this, and The Parking Prankster's mole has provided him with the following information.

Q. How much do VCS pay for the right to enforce parking?
A. VCS pay £25,000 a year to John Lennon Airport?

Q. Do VCS pay anything else?
A. Yes, they pay JLA a commission on each ticket paid?

Q. How much?
A. It varies depending on how many tickets are paid each month. If VCS average 1-10 tickets a day, they pay 12.5% commission. For 11-15 they pay 25% and for tickets over that, 35%.

Q. Can JLA cancel tickets?
A. Yes, if they write to tell VCS to cancel a ticket at any time, then VCS must comply.

Q. Do VCS have the right to enforce tickets in court?
A. Yes, but only with the prior written permission of JLA

Q. Do VCS have any car park management duties?
A. You must be having a laugh. No, they only issue parking charges. Gritting, cleaning, snow and graffiti removal are all done by someone else.

Q. Who sets the level of charges?
A. VCS do, with JLA consent

Q. Are there any disabled driver concessions?
A. No

The Prankster considers that the signage at the airport is not sufficient to warn motorists that parking charges apply. (The signage he has seen is from Google maps and is dated September 2012, 3 months after the VCS contract started in June 2012. It may however have changed since then). There is only one sign at the entrance, which is placed so that it is not visible until you actually turn in. It is hidden by the fence until you turn, and is placed so close to the entrance that you do not have time to read it as you are driving past. The sign warns that stopping is not allowed, but does not say that charges apply or how much they are, and is not compliant with British Parking Association Ltd entrance sign requirements.

(pictures copyright Google maps)

The Prankster therefore recommends that anyone who gets a parking charge for stopping appeals to POPLA on the grounds that the signage is not adequate and that the charge is not a pre-estimate of loss, as it includes commission payments.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

(If anyone has up to date pictures or maps of the signage, please email them to The Prankster).


  1. Now that's a useful snippet. It would be a killer on the issue of the charge not being a genuine pre-estimate of costs for liquidated damages.In fact it would make nonsense of any argument that the costs in any way refelct the landowners loss at all

    1. I agree. My mole tells me that the landowner has given up all rights to the parking charges and that they belong to VCS absolutely. The landowner therefore makes no loss. Of course, it is not possible to make a loss if someone parks for a few seconds anyway!

  2. At only 15 tickets a day on average at the £100 charge, this equates to over £400,000 after payments to the airport themselves.
    Liquidated damages anyone?

  3. The one common theme in contracts of these sorts is a proven non existence to PoFA which requires a relevant contract, ie one which states that the PPC has a right to enter into independent contracts with a driver.
    Wonder what the BPA would make of that since a proper contract is one of their conditions?

  4. But these are not in any sense of the words 'Parking charges' either within the legal POFA definition or just common parlance. If they want to try & contend that the motorist enters into any sort of contract to drive on these access roads with the T&Cs on the signs applying then the signs need to be vastly larger & clearer ideally with some sort of barrier like a multi-storey car park so unquestionably the motorist accepts the contract by taking a ticket. Personally I think that there is no earthly way that it can be held that the driver enters into any kind of contract by driving into the airport where the roads are contiguous with the public highway. That is why it's normal for bylaws or proper TRO to apply to such roads.

  5. You can also assume that since VCS are operating "on behalf of" the airport, they cannot show they have a relevant contract either. That is, they already can't use PoFA to implement their crooked income stream and this is yet another nail in that particular coffin.
    Nor would they be able to claim creditor identity as required by PoFA as the true creditor must be the airport.
    Given the huge takings from the place, and the almost free income to VCS, with only marginal expenses, who gets a kickback into the back pocket here?

    If I had to install a company such as that to make extortionate amounts of money on land that I own, I'd like a damn sight bigger cut of the profits.
    I'm not saying that a director is personally taking some kickback, but I'm not saying it isn't happening either. That's up to you to think over.......

    Maybe the company mole knows of this and has decided to blow that little candle out.

    1. Unless VCS give the airport a big blowjob every month to compensate.

  6. Peel Holdings also use VCS at Doncaster Airport. I wonder if a similar arrangement is in place there?

    1. They also use them at MediaCity in Salford. Must be some nice commissions payments heading Peel's way each month...

  7. JESUS!!!

    I hope no one notifies us 'officially' at the DVLA otherwise 'reasonable cause' would fly out of the window for every parking ticket issued here and we'd lose those lovely £2.50s that go towards our staff bonus payments!

  8. I see your story has made the DAILY MAIL!!!!!!!!!!


  9. This is really so nice and awesome information .

  10. A very fundemental flaw with the VCS notices here is that they are issued to those that stop for a few seconds on the access roads and not to those that use the carpark.

    VCS invoke POFA on the letters they send out but there is no opportunity to acquire a ticket (paid or otherwise) on the access the roads.

    Therefore POFA which applies to parking on private land DOES NOT apply. The car is is not in an area where a ticket can be obtained either for money or any by other means.

    Each and ever ticket obtained on the access roads can be beaten at POPLA as it seems VCS are too stupid to realise this.

    A number of threads on Pepipoo at the moment where more POPLA appeals are going in for this location (and not counting the one that was already won where POPLA told VCS to drop the matter) as they realised they would have no option but to spank VCS if they continued and that the whole VCS MO for this location would come crashing down around their ears.

    As always


    1. Rr do you have the link to the popla one that was thrown out. I'm helping someone with a case at the moment and this could be very useful

  11. Outsourcing the parking is beneficial to all the passengers for it creates a positive competition between all the parking company and they all strive to give better and better services to all of their customers. gatwick parking deals

  12. What if,you wrote to JLA and asked them to confirm or deny that they charge VCS to enforce this piece of roadway and get a commission.You require this information as VCS are taking you to court.Would they have to comply.When this " no stopping" came into force,why when you booked your flights or holidays there was no warning about this new system,or is it because they make a tidy proffitt from the entrapment ?