24 August 2014

The post Holiday blues

So you travel the world to places like India and Egypt where you don't have to worry about parking tickets and can learn things and soak up the local atmosphere. You meet friendly locals, relax, enjoy the local cuisine and drinks, improve yourself by visiting the wonders of the world and you don't worry about your car thousands of miles away as it is outside the house in the residents bay - what could possibly go wrong?

What could go wrong is that the council didn't send you a permit reminder and it expired before or during your holiday. Mr Mustard has already sorted out one such problem for a teacher in his road and is now challenging two PCN for a second neighbour, a college Head of Department.

The more notable cases though did go abroad on holiday. The first one, a respected pillar of the community, came back and didn't use his car straight away and so didn't see the 3 PCN for a few days. Mr Mustard has sorted them out with the parking manager (you dear reader will have to take your chances with NSL through the usual process unless you care to ask Mr Mustard for help which will be freely given) and discovered that there were actually 4 PCN which had been issued.

The second multiple PCN case was for a businessperson who is very busy with their business in central London. They knew their permit had expired, renewed it and obtained a dispensation which had expired before the permit arrived; a complete mess. They also had 3 PCN and dealt with them themselves and bent the ear of the local councillor who they know reasonably well. Their 3 PCN were cancelled as were the other 4 that they didn't know about.

What Mr Mustard noticed from the 3 PCN he dealt with, once he had downloaded all the photos, was that the number of PCN envelopes in the photos as the days passed by did not go 1,2,3,4 as they should have done. Mr Mustard has noticed lots of individual PCN go missing and that means that the motorist misses out on the opportunity of a 50% reduction if they should choose to pay. What Mr Mustard suspects is that if a traffic warden comes along he might examine the previous PCN (or hunt through 4 or 5 plastic wallets for the most recent) which he/she is allowed to do but that they don't all put them back, they may pocket an earlier one or two. Of course if they open a plastic wallet and put the PCN back in it, it may be open to the weather and get ruined. Some PCN are not stuck to the screen but merely slipped under the wiper, a practice of which Mr Mustard does not approve.

Having examined an existing PCN another one should not be issued within 24 hours, as that is what the Traffic Management Order says, but frequently are. This should be programmed into the software so that a second PCN cannot be issued within 24 hours. Is it any surprise that the default is to issue rather than to not issue?

Mr Mustard's experience is that if the council (NSL) didn't cancel them all and that you ended up at PATAS an adjudicator would, at the worst, treat the car being parked for a week and getting 7 PCN, as having committed one continuous offence and cancel all PCN except the first one and properly argued with evidence of previous year's reminders from the council also cancel the first one on the grounds of reasonable expectation. A total penalty of £770, for going on holiday for a week, does not fit the crime (it isn't a crime but a decriminalised penalty). The parking manager does not agree but he doesn't spend as long reading PATAS reports as Mr Mustard does.

The council need a change of system. One phone call should set a dispensation, put an immediate electronic marker on the traffic warden's equipment, cancel all PCN since the permit expired and get the replacement permit emailed or posted to the resident. that would be putting the resident first.

It won't happen, of course.

This sort of nonsense with permits and PCN is one reason why the council scores so badly in the residents' perception survey when it comes to parking.

Just to check that Mr Mustard's street wasn't being picked on he went for a walk in Finchley and checked a road of 130 houses which had 80 cars parked in it. The very first car had a permit which expired on 3 July 14 and a dispensation number in the window.

A further one had a dispensation as the permit was awaited.

A third car had a PCN and a note saying a blue badge was awaited.

So 4% of cars had a problem that was permit related. If that is repeated across the borough there are hundreds of people with permit problems.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Until the cash cow is shot, this will continue. Only the money counts, nothing else.


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