Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Barnet Hospital install parking system designed to fail

This newspaper report confirms that Barnet Hospital are to install a parking system from ParkingEye. Although The Prankster has not seen the actual contract, all other hospital contracts he has seen leave the hospital with the pay and display fees, while ParkingEye trouser the money from overstays and other charges.

As ParkingEye only get money from motorist errors, they have no incentive to design a fair system - this would only reduce their income. Instead, they install systems which are 'designed to fail', allowing them to coin in 'fines' from confused motorists. One such system was installed in Northumbria NHS. This system forced motorists to guess how long they had stayed for, and allowed invalid number plates to be keyed in. As ParkingEye's ANPR cameras detect vehicles on entry, they already know how long the vehicle has been parked for, and already know the valid number plates. There is therefore no reason to allow these errors. Mistakes by motorists allowed ParkingEye to rake in fines at the rate of £1 million a year at Northumbria NHS.

Eventually the volume of complaints caused by the system caused Northumbria NHS to give ParkingEye the boot.

At another hospital, confusing and misleading signs installed by ParkingEye are currently the subject of a DVLA investigation.

It is of course possible to install a system which is much fairer to motorists and easy to use. At Bristol Eye Hospital for instance, the ANPR system installed by Total Parking Solutions tells drivers exactly how much to pay, and does not allow wrong number plates to be entered. A freedom of information request revealed that the amount charged for overstays in a three month period was £0 - or around £250,000 less than ParkingEye were charging Northumbria NHS patients.

However, if ParkingEye were to install a fair system that told motorists how much to pay and did not allow incorrect number plate entries they would quickly go bankrupt because they would not make any revenue, if Bristol Eye Hospital is anything to go by.

Barnet Hospital will no doubt soon learn that installing a 'free' system from a parking company whose only way to make money is to penalise motorists is actually not free at all. The Prankster suggests they staff up their complaints department immediately, if experience at other hospitals is anything to go by.

If you get stung by the new system, the people to complain to are the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). The contact details are currently or 020 8216 4924. No doubt they will be opening a new parking complaints department  in the next few days.

You should of course also appeal to ParkingEye and if they refuse your appeal, appeal to POPLA. All ParkingEye charges at the hospital are invalid because they do not obey the British Parking Association Code of Practice, which they are contractually obliged to do with the hospital. The BPA peg charges at a genuine pre-estimate of loss, which was confirmed in a recent court case to be around £15-£20 (ParkingEye v Beavis and Wardley*) and not the amounts ParkingEye charge. This is detailed in point 19.5 of the code of practice. All known appeals to POPLA on similar grounds since POPLA started have been upheld, and ParkingEye have given up bothering to defend cases.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

*Although ParkingEye won this case, the fact that their costs are an average of £15-£20 per ticket issued were not disputed. The case is currently being appealed and is expected to be heard early in 2015.


  1. If this is how they commission parking management, it makes you worry about how they commission health services.

    1. You mean like the NHS computer systems which never worked, and cost the taxpayer a fortune.

    2. I'm more concerned about the services which directly affect patient care. Somebody is accountable for commissioning Parking Eye, I hope that they are held to account.

    3. So I arrived to the hospital 15 minutes in advance and, when I arrive I find out that, there is no parking space anywhere, I try in one place and then in another...after 25 minutes trying to park in a hospital where 3/4 of the parking space is reserved for staff only...I had to call the hospital and say that I was trying to park, also you have to pay to park of course, is not enough with the amount of money we workers pay to the NHS on taxes...

      When I arrive finally to the place after running and hurting both ankles by doing it...the receptionist puts me to wait for the consultant, I thought that everything was ok (they asked me to take a seat), but...after 15 minutes sitting down waiting the receptionist calls me and says to me that the consultant is not going to see me...that made me so upset that I burst into tears...

      I said to them "is not my fault that your hospital has only parking space for the staff and not for patients"; there is no warning on the letter stating that the hospital don't have enough parking space for ill people to park their cars and that 3/4 of the parking space is for staff only and that you should arrive to your appointment at least 45 minutes early so you can go around and get desperate to find an empty parking space, whilst other drivers also get desperate and you fight with the worry of being late and not be seen and with other drivers to not crash into your car...of course if the consultant is running late and gets delayed and does not see you at the time your appointment was, we have to be very understanding as the consultant is dealing with someone else´s health...

  2. I can semi-understand why firms and organisations were historically duped into subscribing to the dubious services of Parking(sh)Eye(sters). Parking(sh)Eye(sters) are accomplished liars and are extremely talented at promoting themselves in a positive light.

    Nowadays, a wealth of information can be found by performing a web search on a particular company. A simple search of either 'parking eye' or 'parkingeye' reveals nothing at all positive. One has to wonder why these weasels are still acquiring new contracts and for how long they will be able to do so.