Forced channel shift is a terrible way to treat the public. The Government are now trying it but that doesn't make it right. In essence, what the council will do is to force everyone to apply for their parking permit on-line, whether or not you own a computer, not because it is the best method (although Mr Mustard uses it a lot and younger folk than him - see grey hairs in previous blog post - will be perfectly happy with it) but because it is the cheapest method for the council to process. We are letting the cost tail wag the service dog and it is high time we brought councils to heel.
What councils forget is that they are there to serve the public, who provide the funds, and so if the public prefer a more user friendly method that costs more, they should be allowed to use it. There are, of course, equalities issues with making older people and disabled drivers use a computer and a scanner (to upload a copy of, say, a car log book) or they have to lose some of their independence and get someone with the necessary computer skills to carry out the task for them.
Amendment - 15 June
Don't ask Mr Mustard for winning lottery numbers as he will give you last week's ones. Age UK already do as much computer help as you could need. See here
Mr Mustard felt that with Capita taking over the issue of parking permits in their Coventry office, and coincidentally there being a backlog of applications, he would remind one of the parking managers of his opposition to forced channel shift and this was the response he received. Mr Mustard had become involved because a lady in her late 70's had trouble with obtaining a permit for a new car and didn't understand the PIN code system she was being forced to use.
Dear Mr Mustard
There is no forced channel shift. Residents are able to renew, purchase or transfer permits via post.
Mr Mustard is somewhat sceptical. He went on-line to see if he could download a form in order to apply manually. Every menu he clicked he ended up on the page that forces you to renew on-line, this one:
Mr Mustard tried again. He searched for "parking permit" and got this page
Great thought Mr Mustard, he had beaten the system. He clicked on "the attached form" and got this page:
Downloads do not accidentally fall off the council website, someone in power has taken an executive decision, a bad one in Mr Mustard's opinion. Despite what one of the parking managers says, forced channel shift is being well and truly foisted upon us. The manager reads this blog and so will doubtless now show Mr Mustard where the forms are to be found (in the council's libraries?) or it will quietly reappear for downloading.
Have you had a permit renewal since 1 May? Do let Mr Mustard know how it was for you?
Is your permit due, or even overdue for renewal? Don't think you can rely on council reminders as they can be less than reliable. Go and look at your permit in your car now and if your permit has expired phone 020 8359 7446 for a dispensation. Two things they probably won't tell you about the dispensation:
1. It only applies from the next day.
2. It usually only lasts for 14 days.
If in doubt move your car off the road or outside of the zone as little mercy is shown to those innocents whose permits have expired through no fault of their own.