Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Total Parking Solutions set overstay charge at £12 (£20 after 14 days)

The Prankster has seen the proposed signage for car parks in the ownership of the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust. The charge for breaching the Terms and Conditions is £12, rising to £20 after 14 days.

The Prankster believes this is a realistic cost of pursuing the charge, given the costs of the unpaid ticket, DVLA costs, postage, etc.

There may be some legal loophole available to allow motorists to wriggle out, but frankly, for the sake of £12 any motorist would have to consider whether it was worth the time and effort to avoid payment.

The motorist could of course pay the Parking Ticket Appeals Service £16 to take care of the ticket on their behalf. The Prankster believes the appeals service would be silly not to pay £12 and pocket the £4.

Total Parking Solutions have no incentive in this situation to issue vast numbers of tickets. Indeed, as they are likely to make a small overall loss on issuing tickets, they have every incentive to create a car parking system which makes it as easy as possible for motorists to comply.

The Prankster notes that in the Cambridge Test case held recently, HHJ Moloney wondered what level of charge was necessary to deter motorists from breaking parking conditions.If a charge of £50 or even £10 was sufficient to deter, he mused, then a charge of £85 would almost certainly be a penalty.

ParkingEye tried to argue there would be parking chaos if they were not allowed to charge £85.

It seems like Total Parking Solutions and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust feel that a charge of £12 is enough to encourage motorist to obey the parking requirements, and that chaos will not ensue.

The system will be going live in around 3 weeks on one site and once tested will be rolled out to the remaining healthcare centres.

The Prankster sees this as an important test case, and if landowner, motorist and parking company are all happy, a sustainable model for car parks in the future.

Other operators offer their services for free to landowners, or even pay to be allowed to enforce parking. This leads to the situation where the operator tries to issue as many tickets as possible, creates systems which are artificially hard to comply with, and labyrinth appeal systems which are unfair to motorists. This leads to dissatisfaction not only from the motorists, but also from the retail outlets themselves as they lose business to other places with less draconian parking enforcement regimes.

As an example of a system which is hard to comply with, The Prankster chooses today not to mention ParkingEye, whose hard to operate systems have been detailed before, but instead highlights Premier Parking Solutions. At Hull Docks they operate a system where the motorist has to display two tickets in their car window. The tickets have no adhesive backing.

The Prankster has seen many complaints on forums where motorists have either only displayed one ticket, or have had a ticket blown off the window onto the floor.

Premier Parking Solutions argue that motorists must display both tickets.

"This is essential in order to prevent more than one car using the separate ticket and sales receipt to try and show payment."

This is false reasoning. Premier Parking Solutions are under a duty of care to motorists and the landowner to mitigate losses. If the systems of two tickets is not working, then they are not allowed to milk this for all this is worth, but instead should explore alternative solutions. The Prankster suggest using a system which only issues one ticket, or to simply require the ticket to be displayed and not the receipt. Many other car parks successfully do this.

Premier Parking Solutions also state the following.
Tickets without an adhesive back are not a hindrance to parking. They are used by many councils and private companies alike including Humberside council and are industry standard. 
Hull Dock, like any coastal location, is likely to be more windy than your average car park. If Premier Parking Solutions have problems with tickets in this location then an adhesive back is indeed something they should be looking at. Using two tickets doubles the chance that one will blow to the floor.

This is a prime example of Premier Parkng Solutions trying to discharge responsibility by hiding behind the regulations, while in reality coining it in from motorists. Small changes are all that are needed, but of course, this will reduce their income from charges and hit their profits.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Truthfully - if I received a bill for £12 I would likely pay it, then check for signs I had missed on my next visit and put it down to experience, likely therefore complying on my next visit, job done. Not fight tooth and nail against an unfair charge 7 or more times that value, then go on to help people in the same position and boycott all the merchants who have businesses on that car park for 12 months.

  2. If all PPCs adopted the business model described above, the Prankster would have nothing worth blogging about and no followers, the DVLA wouldn't have to spend half their time trying to defend their data release policies, the BPA spokespeople could actually make true statements, and ParkingEye wouldn't need to destroy a rainforest for all the paperwork for their court cases.

    There's no fun in that!

  3. Depends on whether you run the business as a deterent, or to maximise profit wherether possible.

    I'd say that to attempt to recover £12 a time does not make for a good business model. Then again, on private land, anything nearer £100 is a penalty for profit and not a remedy.

  4. I would appeal to popla. Worst case is that you end up paying £20 when the pic has paid £27 to popla

    1. Many PPCs have a clause requiring the landowner to pay POPLA fees. If that is the case here, only the taxpayer will lose out.

  5. Ignoring the scandal of charging for hospital parking a Pay & Display car park at a hospital is singularly inappropriate as neither patients nor visitors can reliably know how long they are likely to be. The only case where it would be acceptable is if there is there is the facility to 'top-up' before departing if the motorist has overstayed. Top-up facilities are rare at P&D car parks I only know of two both managed by Parking Eye - Fistral Beach & Whitlingham Country Park.

  6. The Royal Surrey Hospital has a facility to top up your parking fee at pay machines inside the hospital if you are delayed. Don't know who administers the parking.

    Anyway, pay on exit is the only sensible way as at Frimley Park Hospital and elsewhere. If your first visit, say to A&E, turns out with an unexpected stay you can buy a weekly ticket on the first occasion. As civilised as it can be (given the requirement to pay).

    1. At FPH, some of the wards like A&E will stamp your ticket as well. You can then take it to the person at the enquiries desk near the car park and they will give you free parking. It is an NCP car park though, so it is professionally run with entry and exit barriers and massive signs for parking charges. They implemented it for the hospital as the car park is always full. Commuters were parking there and walking to the local train station.

  7. To my mind, this seems a cynical attempt at raising money. The last time I visited the North Devon Hospital (Barnstaple) last year, they used a barrier and ticket system. You pressed a button and you got a ticket. The barrier would rise and you'd enter the car park. To leave. You inserted your card into a machine and paid for the amount of time that you had stayed. Then you drove to the Exit barrier, inserted your card and the barrier would go up. You simply drove out.

    Now they opting for a Pay and Display car park. Considering I was expecting to be at the Hospital for less than 30 minutes, I'd get a PCN as I was actually park for almost 2 hours. Such are the delays at Hospitals.

    Yes, I'd probably pay the £12. But under the old system, I'd only be paying a few quid.

  8. But, again with the morality of hospital parking charges aside, it could be argued that Parking Eye spending £££s on legals with the hope of recovering £85 is vexatious, so how does a company taking someone to small claims for £20 look? And would they?

    1. probably, or at least some PPCs would - they already do for a substantial loss, even when they win

    2. It will be interesting to find out.

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