One criteria for qualifying Blue Badge is that walking more than 50 yards causes pain. The disabled parking bays at University Hospital of North Staffordshire are indeed less than 50 yards from the hospital entrance...but there are no ticket machines near the disabled bays. Motorists are then faced with a walk of over 100 yards to get a ticket and return to the car. One motorist reports so many machines are out of action he often has to walk half a mile. This obviously cases great problems for disabled drivers.
When asked to comment on the problem Director of Corporate Services, John Simpson made this fatuous remark;
We now allow blue-badge holders to park for an extra 30 minutes free of charge to allow for increased journey times to and from hospital buildings and there are an additional 23 disabled car parking spaces.
We have to balance the needs of patients, visitors and staff – and 20 per cent of our public spaces are dedicated to blue-badge holders.A particular blight in this country is the increasing numbers of bureaucrats and politicians who think they can get away with pre-canned remarks which have nothing to do with the question asked or problem posed. Allowing Blue-badge holders extra time does nothing to alleviate the problem. Nor does allocating more spaces. The problem is (stated in words as short as possible for John Simpson's benefit); the hospital is making disabled drivers walk too far. (Sorry about 'hospital' and 'disabled' John; I couldn't find suitable shorter words). The Prankster regards John Simpson's remarks as an insult to the intelligence of his customers; the patients.
If John Simpson is worthy of his job (The Prankster does not want to judge him on one ill-considered remark) then he will doubtless do something about the actual problem rather than spouting meaningless hot air.
The Prankster suggests one or more of the following:
1) Suspend all charges on disabled motorists until the problem is solved
2) Or, actually comply with the new government guidelines and provide free parking for disabled motorists
3) Supply new pay machines sited at the disabled bay
4) Or move the existing pay machines to the disabled bay
5) Provide park-by-phone and/or park-by-app at no extra cost so that disabled motorists with phones/smartphones can pay without leaving the car. Put the signage at the disabled bays at a low height.
6) Provide pay-by-pc at no extra cost so that disabled motorists with computers and internet access can pre/post-register and pay at home either before or after parking. Put the signage at the disabled bays at a low height.
However, the Prankster notes the whole scheme seems to be pay-and-display which is wholly inappropriate for hospitals anyway.
7) Scrap pay and display and move to a pay on exit model.
As it seems STAND are gearing up to sue the hospital, John Simpson could save a great deal of money by implementing one or more of these steps.
The Parking Prankster