Monday, 8 December 2008

Pay up sucker!

A 76 year old grandfather was issued a £60 littering fine after his cigarette, which he had only just lit, was knocked out of his hand. The over zealous warden called him away from where his cigarette had landed so he was distracted from picking it up, he had only just lit the cigarette so it wasn't a case of just leaving it. He wrote to the council and asked for them to investigate. They said, "Pay up or the fine will be increased to £80". Maybe if he had punched the warden in the nose he would have just got a caution from the police and not a £60 fine.

Abingdon Council operate in a similar way in their car parks, as do most councils, if you over stay the fine is £80 but the noticeboard says 'if you are a good little citizen and pay within ten days' the fine is reduced to £50. This of course is an attempt to make you think you can save thirty quid and pay up without argument. The wrongness, if there is such a word, of this is that it is a faulty edict. The fine is £50 if you do not pay up with in ten days it is increased to £80. It's a bit like saying if the dentist smiles it wont hurt.

The Abingdon system relies on the fact that people people don't want to over pay for their parking and by the same token cant always guarantee when their business will be concluded. Pay and display car parks are a con often robbing the public by not giving change and not allowing people to pass on tickets by insisting you type in your car number before you can get a ticket. There you could pay for 4 hours finish in two and the council wont give you a refund but overstay 5 minutes and WHAM! Pay up sucker!

This is not really about paying for what you get it's about controlling people and making a shed load of money. Who owns the car parks? We do. So why are the councils fining us for parking in our own car park? The answer is a simple one. WE LET THEM DO IT!

Is this how fascism starts? Have you ever wondered where all those school bullies went to? I think they become councillors and MPs.


Jim Davies said...

Driving a car and using a car park (which take up a lot of valuable town centre land which could otherwise be put to better use) is not compulsory. Its a lifestyle choice. You may have had to pay for half an hour's parking you didn't use. Someone else may have to put up with an ugly area of tarmac in their town that they NEVER use. Cars impose a lot of costs (noise, accidents,visual intrusion, pollution, congestion) on society which their owners don't pay towards. the least they can do is pay up when they break the rules!

Jim Davies said...

Sorry, Maffi I've no sympathy for car owners. They impose a lot of costs on the rest of society (noise, accidents, pollution, congestion) as well as expecting huge amounts of valuable town centre land to park the things on. The least they can do is pay up when they break the rules!

Maffi said...

I heard you the first time.

If someone is going to spend a couple of grand in a town then the town should make provisions for them. They could take their money elsewhere. As for fining them £50/£80 if they over stay 5/10 minutes its daylight robbery. It can only be the right thing to do if there is provision for a refund if one doesnt stay the full time paid for. Of course the Ideal option is pay on exit but I suspect that there is less money in that and I'll wager the theives at the council know that very well.

I am quite happy for towns not to provide parking but they must accept reduced income for the traders. This has a knock on effect. If there is no parking income that money must come from somewhere else, up goes the business rate CT and traders go out of business. They can't have it both ways. Since Abingdons recent revamped town centre scheme to keep cars out at least 12 business have closed down. Good scheme!

If every one who recieved a parking fine then took their goods back for a refund the traders would kick up a fine stink.

Councils are the servants of the people it is their responsibility to ensure the town thrives which in turn keeps council tax down. Like it or not the car is here to stay for the forseeable future and drivers should not be penalised for using it. They pay more than enough in taxes without being fined for overstaying ten minutes in a a car park.

Jim Davies said...

Sorry about the double post. Pay in advance is by far the cheapest system to operate a car park on and therefore enables the cost of parking to be kept down. If you don't like it at least you can vote against it - unlike a private car park. Here is a list of the things I have recently paid for in advance but not used:
My newspaper - I read about 25% of it on average
My bus fare - for the same price I could travel several more stops (but would have to walk back)
Gas - My house is still warm when I leave for work in the morning. I don't get a refund
and not least my boat licence, which allows me to go boating 365 days a year instead of the 60 I usually manage! But, like car parks, its all a lifestyle choice.
(and by the way, how often do you spend "a couple of thousand quid" in Abingdon?

Maffi said...

Pay in advance is not the cheapest method of car parking for the parker. It is prole control. When I arrive I rarely know how long I am going to be. I cannot possibly predict any problems which may occur, so it is safer to over pay for parking, which in effect is robbery by the very people who are supposed to make our lives better.

Pay on exit, not only allows a driver to take his time, but relieves the stress of worrying if he will get back in time to avoid a 'fine'. Not to mention he will only pay for what he uses, and is more relaxed while parked which surely means he can stay longer if he so chooses, browse a few shops spend more money which the council will also get a cut of. More income for the council which is not begrudged.

Pay and Display is legalised robbery.

When do I spend a couple of grand in Abingdon? When ever I go there! Which is why I am insensed at paying to park.

PS I usually stay a couple of months.

Miss T said...

Re school bullies, one of the problems is that 'normal people' don't tend to want all the hassle that goes with being a councillor etc.

What we need is more people coming forward to take on local govt/parish councillor roles, but most people have too much other crap to deal with, and don't need the ego trip...what to do....

Area D said...

There are no wheel clamps in France. This is because when they were introduced the French public put superglue in the locks. Within two weeks they were withdrawn. Single-use wheel clamps simply are not economic. The French public acted together and stopped the scourge. We allowed it to go on and so we still live with them.

Jim Davies said...

If you spent £2,000 every time you go to Abingdon you can afford to pay to park your roller. :-)

Maffi said...

Wot an get it knicked!

Anonymous said...

Hi Maffi,
I was once nearly tempted into getting into town/parish council. I had a goodish look ,and found the 'regulation' little Hitler already well ensconced. He had everyone in his stuffed-shirt thrall, and I felt too intimidated at that time to take on this particular bully.
He has subsequently been Mayor and was the big cheese at the memorial service recently.
I do so despise him, but feel powerless.
Bedford, of course continues cleverly strangling itself by a) not letting me/anyone in car or bus get in easily and b) charging at car parks on arrival. Then folk write to the local paper asking why the high street is moribund. I do sometimes wonder.......(about the locals!)
Then I just say thanks for my bus pass!!
Sometimes a little age has a tiny benefit!


Scott said...

"Gas - My house is still warm when I leave for work in the morning. I don't get a refund"
Jim, that's not a fair analogy.
What if you had to predict how much gas you would use ahead of each quarter, no refunds but a fine if you overuse!
Madness? sounds like red diesel taxation to me ;)

PS. Here in the fens the parking is FREE, shhh