Friday, 24 January 2014

Hospital Car Parks - Is this a better way to do things?

The Prankster has previously posted about Northumbria NHS where there is a ticketless system and patients have to guess how long they stay. They get a huge fine it they get it wrong. ParkingEye's figures show they would have raked in over £1 million every year on this site - they charge an extortionate amount despite their own accounts showing it costs them less* than £15 per notice issued.

*The Prankster estimates the true cost to be around £7.50.

The Prankster has been sent in some pictures from a different hospital. This car park is managed by Total Parking Solutions. While The Prankster may not agree with everything Total Parking Solutions does, this particular setup is much fairer to the motorist.

Here, the motorist just turns up, parks, and does their business at the hospital. When they leave, the system knows how long they stayed and charges accordingly.

The system uses ANPR to record the vehicle entry and exit time so that the time of stay can be calculated. When you leave you start to type in your registration. You are then told the fee owed.

The Prankster feels this is a much fairer way of doing things.

  • you don't get charged for not guessing the time of stay correctly when you arrive
  • you don't get charged for not guessing the time of stay correctly when you leave
  • you only get charged for the time you park; you don't have to overpay 'just in case'
  • you don't get charged if you mistype the registration - because you can only enter registrations on the system
  • you don't get charged for forgetting you are using a different car today - because you can only enter registrations on the system
This removes many of the scam elements that unscrupulous car parking companies use to boost their profits. No doubt there may be problems which The Prankster has not thought of, and he would prefer a barrier system, but he accepts he does not live in an ideal world.

Hospital parking by its very nature involves uncertain durations of stay, and also ill people, the elderly, pregnant mothers and many vulnerable people. It is not right that hospitals pass over their responsibilities to these people by opting for a 'free' system which is in reality paid for by fleecing the vulnerable.

What a pity Total Parking Solutions did not win the contract for Northumbria NHS. I'm sure Northumbria NHS would be getting far fewer problems if they had.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. The barrier system is much fairer. Simply erect a barrier at the entrance which prevents filthy parasites like Parking (sh)Eye(sters) from entering the site in the first place. Rentokil might be able to supply some weasel deterrent.

  2. "not guessing the time of stay incorrectly" should be "... correctly" I think.

  3. And same with following bullet point.

  4. My local hospital (Norwich & Norfolk) has a barrier system. Take a ticket as you enter then pop it in a machine before you leave to pay & get the ticket endorsed for exit. Ignoring the fact that hospital car parks should be free as they are in Scotland & Wales this barrier system with pay on exit is fair & foolproof. The misery & distress caused by 'fines' from PE must surely outweigh any monetary benefit from enforcing by ANPR rather than barrier.

    Pay & display parking has no place at hospitals either as there are simply so many reasons why a motorist may be delayed in returning to the car & should not be obliged to guess how long they will be staying (with a tendency to induce overpaying).

  5. I disagree parking charges at hospitals are disgusting and a tax on the sick and their visitors, hospitals in Wales and Scotland do not charge, how can they manage it? Saying that I'm dealing with a ticket from Vinci for obstructive parking in a hospital local to me, obviously having a medical emergency is besides the point.

    Wonder what their pre-estimate of loss is in a free car park ? ;)

  6. Craig, in Wales SOME hospitals do not charge - they have the choice not to, and many don't, many do. I received an invoice for parking on a double yellow (with disabled badge displayed) as my dad was dying. On leaving I'd got the invoice. I wrote to the company and it was cancelled immediately.

    I agree hospitals should provide free parking - we already pay for it through our taxes.

  7. David only one hospital to my knowledge still charge in Wales , that being in Cardiff. There are lots who use parking companies to enforce there, but that is different to charging to park. Private hospitals maybe different but I can tell you now that Bridgend, Morriston, Singleton, Neath & Port Talbot, Prince Charles, Glangwilli and Withybush do not charge

  8. This system has caused major problems at Queens hospital Burton on Trent, causing a major re-think by hospital. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the conmen will be stopped preying on people at their most vunerable,

  9. Plymouth Derriford Hospital has this too, it's run by Vinci I think. There are barriers and you take a little RFID token from the machine when you enter. On your way out, right by the entrance doors in the hospital. you put your token in a machine and it tells you how long you've stayed and how much you need to pay. You put your money in, the token is given back and then when driving out you put your token in another machine and the barrier opens.