30 May 2017

Dart Charge misses target

Mr Mustard's client received a Dart Charge PCN for her car
That's odd, she thought, I was doing the school run at 08:30 within Enfield.

She looked at the picture, unlike Dart Charge, who issue PCN without any human intervention?

We all know that cars are getting larger but the Fiesta isn't yet 40 feet long. Mr Mustard doesn't know the outcome of the PCN yet but if his client did nothing she would end up with her car clamped and removed whilst at the same time being entirely innocent.

It turns out that the format we currently use in England, AB01CDE is also identical in Romania.
This means that Dart Charge should be very careful to check before issuing any PCN, they should not blindly assume that it will be the UK registered vehicle which has transgressed. In the case of this lorry, it seems to have been driven by a person or persons who are ignorant of, or wilfully ignoring, the Dart Charge.

The entry for £2.50 is the one when Dart Charge think the vehicle was a car and for all the rest they have spotted that it is a lorry.

Doubtless this blog will sort the problem out.

Update 14 June: This PCN has been cancelled for the car, it is still live for the lorry.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

15 May 2017

TfL - complaint, what complaint?

What went wrong?

Readers with good memories will recall this blog post about TfL sending out a Charge Certificate (an, in that case, unlawful demand for payment of a PCN at a 50% uplift, £195 to you).

Now you would think that TfL would want to apologise, to learn from the failure and to improve their systems for the future, would you not? Well, if they have done anything at all it has been in secret and they don't want Mr Mustard or his client to know about it. Mr Mustard wonders if the statistics that TfL keep about complaints can be at all reliable given his experience.

The theory of the TfL complaints system

The system in practice

First complaint sent to TfL at PO Box 335, Darlington about PCN GT62741753

2 November 2016

You have no right to issue a Charge Certificate.

Please apologise to my client and compensate him.

I also wish to complain that you do not provide an email address (only phone, webform or letter) to send complaints to and that is ridiculously unhelpful in 2016. 

Response came there none

The PCN was cancelled on 24 November 16 but TfL did not tell Mr Mustard that, he discovered that when he checked the balance on the PCN website.

5 December 2016

A reminder was sent to PO Box 335.

Response came there none.

25 January 2017

Mr Mustard escalated the complaint in line with TfL's procedure.

Customer Correspondence Manager
Road User Charging
Transport for London,1st Floor
230 Blackfriars Road

Dear Sirs


Your modus operandi seems to me to be to ignore complaints so this is a second complaint about that on top of the substantive one.

Response came there none.

28 February 2017

Mr Mustard found the email address for the boss of TfL.

No matter how busy a good boss is he makes sure that he delegates tasks to subordinates and that proper attention is paid to complaints.

Answer came there none.

You may be shocked at TfL's lack of concern to valid complaints (if it had not been valid the PCN would not have been cancelled) but you may be even more shocked to know that TfL have never ever written back in response to any complaint made by Mr Mustard. The administration of PCN may well be contracted out (to Crapita?) but that is no excuse for failing to respond to four communications of complaint.

If you know anyone* who works in complaints for TfL, or at board level, could you please bring PCN ref GT62741753 to their attention.

Many thanks

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

*perhaps no-one does?

8 May 2017

The City of Westminster whopper

Mr Mustard's client made informal representations that he was loading on a single yellow line.

He had received a code 1 PCN. It is permissible to load and unload on single yellow line, except apparently in the area of City of Westminster ('CoW') where they have changed the rules without telling anyone (except they can't and they haven't, it is simply what they have written).

Enforcement authorities are fond of quoting the Highway code at motorists. Mr Mustard is fond of quoting it back at them.

Clearly CoW don't know the rules as if there had been a loading restriction the traffic warden would have issued a code 2 PCN, not code 1 as he/she did (after about 2 minutes of observation).

Every motorist is legally entitled to expect a public authority to be procedurally fair. What CoW have said is patently wrong. Had this motorist not known Mr Mustard he might easily have paid this PCN at the 50% rate in response to CoW's rejection of his informal challenge (the one made in response to an on-street PCN) and that would have been the end of the matter.

What Mr Mustard is wondering is, knowing the propensity for stock responses to parking challenges, if this paragraph is a standard one

used on your code 01 PCN, or if this is an isolated error (he would bet his shirt on the former). Do let him know on twitter or by email to mrmustard@zoho.com

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard