Interestingly, in the recent ParkingEye v Beavis case regarding Riverside Retail Park in Chelmsford, one of the reasons the judges gave for refusing the appeal was that the two hour limit was beneficial to shopkeepers.
It is also useful to the shopkeepers, in encouraging visitors, and in particular in encouraging a turnover of visitors because of the two hour limit.It appears this reason was made up by the judges, as The Prankster can find no evidence that was filed by the claimant to support this. In fact, a recent survey of the retailers at that site showed they were fed up with ParkingEye, and that the two hour limit lost them business rather than gained business.
There are 12 retail units on site, and the survey asked two questions.
a) Have you had many customer complaints about the 2-hour parking limit
b) Does Parking Eye's enforcement of the 2 hours help or hinder your businessThe results were:
7 said they had lots of complaints, and it drove customers awayTypical complaints are that retailers could spend all day trying to get charges cancelled on behalf of customers, and that trollies have been abandoned mid-shop because of the 2 hour limit. They also noted that once customers had been hit by a ParkingEye charge they tended not to return.
2 said it helped, because without it the car park would fill up with non-customers
2 had no manager available for comment
1 was the Nuffield Health Gym, where their customers get 4 hours if they log their registration number.
The survey shows the actual situation, contrary to the judges impression, is overwhelmingly that ParkingEye is detrimental to business rather than beneficial.
Since the survey was taken, a Costa has also opened on site, which will only add to the problems.
When ParkingEye initially took over the site, the car park used to have a barrier operated system. This is of course much farier to motorists because you pay for the time you park and you know exactly where you stand. It does not generate huge parking charge profits though, so ParkingEye routinely remove barriers and replace them with ANPR.
The initial time limit on the site was 3 hours. This was reduced by ParkingEye to two hours, as allowed by their contract with the landowner. There does not appear to have been any consultation with retailers or shopper analysis, which leaves the obvious conclusion that the 3 hour limit was not generating enough overstay charges and so ParkingEye were not making enough profit on site to cover their £1,000 weekly fees to the landowner. When this type of situation occurs, ParkingEye's only apparent options are to leave the site, or to decrease parking times to generate more revenue.
No doubt this parasitic behaviour which is against the interests of landowners, retailers and motorists, will lead to more contracts being cancelled over the long term. The Prankster suggests that landowners seek out the better parking companies who actually offer a proper service, rather than go for the operators who operator the parasitic model.
The situation is quite obvious. There may be a few abusers of any given car park, but once they are driven away, the only way for the parasitic parking companies to survice is to target the retailers own customers. This can never be a winning long term strategy. The solution is for proper parking management, which will get rid of the abusers but then manage the car park properly for the genuine customers.
The Parking Prankster