14 November 2011

Form an orderly queue now !

The stupid cashless system of Barnet, ill conceived and badly implemented, is based upon Westminster, a central London borough which is completely different to Barnet. Sorry, Curzon Mayfair but Mr Mustard and his arty film loving friend aren't coming anywhere near you, on a Sunday or of an evening, until they can again park for free. We will vote with our wheels and go elsewhere. 

Mr Mustard has already blogged about how one can simply insert your credit or debit card into a machine in Westminster without registering with some faceless corporation. Not so in Barnet.

Barnet Cllr Brian Coleman is quoted as saying "We are going completely cashless. It's a common sense modern approach to parking. It works perfectly well in Westminster."

However, today's blog is about the councillor who is bringing in changes to parking in Westminster. In the Evening Standard of 10 November 2011 Cllr Lee Rowley of Westminster is reported on as follows:

He earns £19,000 a year as a cabinet member but handed back a permit letting him park free in any Westminster residents bay while on official business. He says he had no use for it and preferred to apy for his own parking. 

So councillors & MPs of Barnet please do the same if you are to accurately follow the lead of Westminster.

The following hold a permit or two:
Cllr Brian Coleman ( as representative of the GLA )
Cllr Andrew Strongolou
Cllr Helena Hart
Cllr Joan Scannell
Cllr Barry Evangeli
Cllr Monroe Palmer
Cllr Sury Khatri - 2 permits !
Cllr Graham Old
Cllr John Hart
Cllr Daniel Seal
Cllr Richard Cornelius
Cllr Stephen Sowerby
Cllr Rowan Turner
Cllr Brian Schama - 1 permit with 2 vehicle registrations !
Cllr Mark Shooter
Cllr Sachin Rajput
Cllr Brian Salinger
Cllr Andrew Harper
Cllr Joanna Tambourides
Cllr Lisa Rutter
Cllr Darrel Yawitch
Cllr Brian Gordon

There are also MPs who hold a permit.

Theresa Villiers MP
Matthew Offord MP
Mike Freer MP holds two permits

So please form an orderly queue ladies and gentlemen and hand your permits back in to Barnet Council so that you can experience for yourself the hideous administrative hoops that the typical resident or visitor to Barnet has to go through in order to manage the simple task of parking their car.

Until you do this you will be out of touch with the man or woman in the street. Come on, don't dilly dally, if it is such a wonderful system, even a councillor or MP will be able to cope. What's keeping you?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr Mustard

    You quoted Cllr Coleman as saying "We are going completely cashless. It's a common sense modern approach to parking. It works perfectly well in Westminster."

    Er.... well, not quite. Westminster has long basked in the income from parking fines (like Barnet, far in excess of parking charge income), but it has all gone wrong. To quote the Evening Standard this week "Two years ago everything began to change. as recession began to bite, drivers started to comply with the law. At the same time the council introduced pay by phone parking which enabled many drivers to top up their bay charge and avoid a £60 fine. These developments cost the council £20 million in 2009/10."

    The article does not say that resistance to pay by phone parking influenced the losses - perhaps not substantial as the Westminster payment system is much simpler than in Barnet.

    Losses have continued and desperate Westminster now want to introduce evening and Sunday charges to recoup the 'lost' income, claiming justification on the grounds that there is so much congestion at these times that charges are necessary to 'manage' parking. Traders have gone ballistic and are seeking a judicial review.

    Notice similarities to Barnet? Yes, Barnet too wants to recoup 'lost' income. so we have had hikes in CPZ permit costs (legal challenge in progress) and parking charges. And listening to tales of confused motorists being given fines whilst trying to work out how to pay, maybe fines are - for now at least - on the up. But, just like Westminster, what if it all goes wrong? And there are signs that indeed all may not be going to plan. Traders across the Borough are complaining of a substantial drop in footfall and are blaming the parking regime. Unlike Westminster many of our motorists are making elective journeys, not necessary ones. They can complete their errands by going to places where parking is free or cheaper, or the process simpler. We have a substantial population of elderly drivers and many do not use mobile phones, and are unlikely to ever be enamoured with the alternative payment system.

    The council is pinning its hopes on drivers accepting and complying with the high charges and phone payment. But our drivers are less captive than visitors to Westminster and there is every possibility it will all go wrong. What then? - an admission of error and an unravelling of charges and payment methods? No chance. More likely we will be blighted with more hikes in CPZ charges and extending charges to evenings and Sundays. Meantime we can all amuse ourselves by counting the rising number of empty shops in our town centres.

    Yes folks. What Westminster cocks-up today Barnet will cock-up tomorrow!


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