12 March 2013

Calling time on the disabled

Are blue badges blue because their use leads to a lot of profanities being issued?

a standard issue time clock
Mr Mustard is appealing a parking ticket for an elderly gentleman who received a parking ticket at 16:25 and here is the time clock he set which is used to demonstrate that you are within your 3 hours on single or double yellow (provided that they are not a place where unloading is not permitted - this is shown by a short yellow line or lines across the kerb stones which are known as kerb flashes).

Now, can you tell Mr Mustard with any accuracy what time the clock was set at. Was it before or after 13:25? It is hard to be certain?

What time should one set the clock for? Mr Mustard didn't think it mattered all that much as surely a disabled person would be allowed a bit of grace, by reason of their reduced ability to walk far or fast or both. The enforcement contract with NSL specifies a grace period of 5 minutes before a parking ticket for having stayed longer than permitted is issued. Under this One Barnet contract the actions of the contractor NSL do not seem to be monitored closely enough.

Mr Mustard wrote to the parking process manager ("PPM") to find out if there were any more precise instructions than in the blue badge guidance from the Department of Transport which says on page 10 "to show your time of arrival" and then on page 15 it says "showing the quarter hour period during which you arrived". The PPM thought that "You should set the clock to the nearest 15 minute period (if you follow the guidelines exactly). If you arrive at 13:22 then the nearest 15 minute period would have been 13:15. You would then calculate your 3 hour exemption from there." Mr Mustard thought the opposite, that the 3 hours should run from the end of the quarter hour in which you parked and then a 5 minute grace period on top. Moving the clock backwards would remove some of the permitted 3 hours from the disabled person.

Mr Mustard doesn't like unresolved questions like this one, he had already looked on the PATAS website and not found the answer but when he googled he did find a case that had come before PATAS in 2009 following an appeal against a Redbridge parking ticket. The comments by the independent adjudicator included these:

It may be that the Department (of Transport) should reconsider the drafting of these instructions to make the actual requirements of the Exemption Regulations clear. In light of apparent lack of clear instructions to badge holders it is perhaps not surprising that Mrs B developed her own approach to where to set the pointer on the clock.

In future she should simply place it between the quarter hour markings. She can then calculate her 3 hour period of exempt waiting from the end of that quarter hour period. The Enforcement Authority should instruct their CEOs and staff who consider representations to adopt the same approach.

I find that the PCN was issued during the period when Mrs B was entitled to leave her car on the yellow line with the benefit of the Blue Badge and disc, and so I allow this appeal. 

So there we have an answer that we can rely on as it is in the key cases section of the PATAS website and so likely to be followed by the other independent adjudicators.

Set your time clock to the middle of the quarter hour in which you arrive and allow yourself the 3 hours and the odd few minutes of parking. Much safer though to avoid having to endure a tedious argument about a parking ticket you shouldn't have been given is to park if you can in a resident's permit parking bay or a pay-by-phone bay for as long as you like and that neatly sidesteps the time clock problem. For car parks it is best to check the sign board for the rules.

Isn't parking tedious in Barnet?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for this useful piece of information. Later today I'll be asking my borough (Haringey) what instructions our in-house Parking Service gives to their traffic wardens on this point. (As well as tweeting a link to your blog for my five remaining active "followers".)

    In my experience as a ward councillor (Tottenham Hale) the majority of drivers want clarity and certainty about where they can and can't park; for how long; and at what cost. Most are not out to cheat the system. And that applies to blue badge holders. (Though I have a different view on people who use fake, or someone else's blue badge -they're cheating the real blue badge holders.)

    One thing I especially like about this post is that you add a couple of helpful suggestions. In the Daily Kvetch which many websites and blogs seem to become, not a lot of people know how to do that.



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