12 July 2012

Tea & Sympathy from Barnet Council? - not a chance

In New York - where they also have cash & card meters

Don't blame Declan Hoare. He has not written to Mr Mustard in a sympathetic manner but he is probably under terrible pressure because he is trying to manage the havoc that councillors' policies have caused in parking and get out of them under the new cabinet member's guidance and trying to get NSL to do what they have contracted to do.

O2 customers will be particularly interested in this post.

Sent: 12 July 2012 09:41
To: Hoare, Declan; Wharfe, Pam
Cc: all councillors

Subject: Pay by phone parking


Dear Mr Hoare / Ms Wharfe

You may have noticed that the O2 mobile phone network has problems today (and had them yesterday).

Having pay by phone as almost the only payment method is now not looking like the best decision in the world.
Will commonsense prevail such that motorists who can prove they have an O2 mobile phone have their parking bay or car park related parking tickets cancelled during the period of network outage or will motorists be expected not to park?

This does rather show the value of meters does it not (especially ones that take cash and credit cards)?

Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard

Dear Mr Mustard

We would expect O2 to compensate motorists if they incur a penalty charge notice through a failure of their phone service. However to be clear it is the motorists responsibility to ensure that they park legally and the Council will not cancel properly issued penalty charge notices.

I have no doubt that O2 will have their network problems corrected shortly. In the meantime motorists are able to pay for parking using Paypoint (details of the nearest outlet are available via www.paypoint.co.uk) or by buying parking vouchers from their nearest library.

Declan Hoare
Assistant Director Highways and Transport
Environment, Planning and Regeneration Directorate
Tel: 020 8359 4320
Mob: 07786 094 966

Dear Mr Hoare

Thank you for your disappointing but unsurprising response.

If you have just arrived in your car from, say, Birmingham, for a business meeting in Barnet and you are faced with pay-by-phone and your mobile telephone network is not working then it will not be possible to use the browser on your handset to find the nearest paypoint shop.

A brummie is hardly likely to know where the nearest library is either. By the time he/she finds out, walks or drives there (the parking problem still exists at the library - you could get a ticket whilst inside the library or whilst you are walking there )and walks or drives back they are probably 30 minutes late for their appointment. In addition, you aren't thinking about the library hours, they are not open at 8am when many cpz start and don't let's even think about Mondays when more libraries are closed than open.

Link to library opening times

Vouchers from libraries are not a practical solution.

Welcome to Barnet. It's not part of the real world.
Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard

What is the point of a CPZ? 

This is what Directgov say:
A controlled parking zone (CPZ) is a parking scheme mainly used in urban areas. CPZs are used by local councils to address particular parking problems in a community - usually in order to help residents park near to their homes.

This means that parking is only permitted in designated parking bays - the remainder of the kerbside space is subject to yellow line restrictions.

CPZs can also be used to allow more free-flowing traffic through town centres, particularly where parking causes problems for the emergency services.

Nothing there about raising revenue. Every council in the land will deny that raising money is the objective but judge councils by their words and deeds and the answer is very different.

Motorists have a problem today. The council is meant to be citizen-centric so do the council help you? no, they kick you when you are down. If the CPZs are really not about making money then a council should be pleased to help  citizens on difficult days and not be thinking how much money they can claw in from Penalty Charge Notices.

If you get a ticket and you were an O2 customer, appeal informally the appeal again formally and then appeal to PATAS who might well take a more sympathetic viewpoint.

Barnet Council, remember this. You are here to serve the public. When it comes to parking you are self-serving money grubbing miseries.

Have a nice day now.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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