Friday, 7 October 2016

ParkWithEase - ANPR Seriously flawed

Guest Report from Clive Elsdon

I went into one of their car parks in the lakes, and for a system that should be so simple (pay on exit only needs a barrier system, the same as apparently a time limit only needs a watch...) they have made it almost impossible to understand. We saw lots of people scratching their head trying to pay on arrival... but at least I had been forewarned of that issue.

That didn't help me much when I came to pay as I left though... You see, as I typed my reg number in, it kept asking me if a slightly different number was mine.. I correctly kept saying no to this, as it differed by one digit and I know how pedantic parking companies can be if you get one digit wrong. So unfortunately I could not pay.

Knowing what crooks parking companies are I went to the visitors centre at the location. When I said what had happened, they pulled out a long list of vehicle registration numbers and added my REAL number to the end. I paid them an estimate of what was owed and left... Still half expecting to get an NTK in the post.

I'm pleased to say that didn't happen... But perhaps some other poor soul with a registration number one digit different to mine had that pleasure? Luckily, despite there being 3 other registration plates in the family with the same position digit being different to the one in their system... they managed to misread it as one we didn't own! We had *2* ***, *3* ***, *4* *** and *8* ***. They read it as *9* ***, where the letters / numbers represented by * remain the same on all plates...

ANPR is seriously flawed. I think that's why councils are discouraged from using it... but also perhaps why PPC's like it... I guess some will see it as a "fine", perhaps not have kept evidence and just pay up... After all, it looks bloody official when it lands through the door....

Prankster Note

Despite ParkWithWEase operating a known flawed system they are more than happy to take motorists to court for imagined transgressions.

ANPR can be used in a constructive and fair way, but companies such as ParkingWithEase are obviously just out to abuse the motorist, and are one of the bottom-feeders who have joined the cynical ATA run by Will Hurley and John Davies of the IPC.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Two weeks ago, I visited the Waterhead car park at Ambleside, which Park with Ease operated on behalf of the Lake District National Park Authority (NPA). Not noticing the ‘Pay on Leave’ on the signs I went over to the machine which was in use and read the signs whilst waiting. Just about to walk away, I noticed an old gent using the machine was struggling so offered to help. It transpired he’d entered the car park less than five minutes earlier, thinking it was pay and display he’d put his reg number in the machine and it said £3.00 (+/-). The machine acknowledged his reg no, he paid the money which the machine accepted, but got no ticket or receipt. As the car park is ANPR, the system knew he’d been in the car park less than 5 minutes and as the first 15 minutes or so, are free, the machine should not have charged him. There was no contact number on any of the signs nor advice should you encounter difficulty. Having discussed with him the zero tolerance policy of PPC’s and the likelihood of receiving a PCN etc., not wanting the hassle of an PCN and appeal he decided he’d pay again on leaving.
    It was clear many people especially the elderly were having difficulty with the machines.
    I emailed a ’feedback’ to the NPA suggesting that as the PPC’s business model is based on defaulters they it may wish to consider:
    More prominent signs indicating NOT pay and display; a MANNED contact number and helpline, and machine improvements to stop it accepting money when the ANPR camera system would clearly indicate no money was owing.
    The email has been acknowledged and I’m awaiting a response from a member of the NPA car parking team.

  2. A great carpark is the one at Coventry Lower Precinct, on entry their is a barrier which will only raise upon reading your reg no and recognizing it, meaning if you have a error on entry it won't open (misspelled reg, dirty plate, etc etc) you then park as normal and wander off to do your shopping, upon return there is a computer terminal screen that you enter your reg number in, it then TELLS YOU how long you've been there and much you owe and gives then gives you a printed receipt. On leaving there is again a barrier that raises once its read your reg and checked you have already paid the correct fee. A simple to use, error proof use of ANPR. No chance to enter an incorrect reg, no issues with reg umber being mis-read, no chance for a "double-dip" and best of all , PLENTY of car park spaces!

    1. Absolutely. Same system in o e of the good car parks in Durham city. A dream to use and my default car park even though it's slightly dearer than some of the others.

    2. It is sad that the good car park operators are driven out by the bad

  3. I just used in the Lake District. We didn't have the right coins to pay, tried credit card twice, accepted my PIN but would not charge the card. So paid online - it costs 50p more than it should. They are charging 40p for 20 mins, not the 35p shown on the board. This is clearly a scam not a genuine mistake. I shall report to Trading Standards.