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