Anorak News | One Fine Day

One Fine Day

by | 22nd, June 2006

HE waits. The seconds tick by. A man approaches. The man is running. You can taste his fear. And still he waits. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. And yes. He peels off the ticket he has already written and slaps it on the windscreen. He clicks his heels. And then he is gone.

A scene there from Anorak’s new play “Little Hitler: The Life And Times of A Council Parking Operative”.

But this is a story with a twist. Sometimes the good guy wins, and we read in the Times that things are to change.

The Government has realised that we care less about Iraq, Iranian lunatics and green matters than we do parking fines.

So it has come up with a scheme to change things in favour of the motorist. Under these new rules, local authorities and the parking companies they conjure from the pits of Hell will be forced to focus on “minimising the number of cancelled tickets”.

They will have to ensure that tickets are only issued when warranted, when there is no room for genuine complaint.

As the paper notes, in the last eight years the amount handed over by motorists in the form of fines has almost doubled to £1.2billion a year. It says councils made a profit of more than £450million last year.

For instance, in 1997-98, Ellesmere Port & Neston council reaped just £2,000 from parking fines. Last year it scooped £745,000, an increase of 37,150 per cent. That’s even more than property prices have risen.

The Government says there are better ways of ensuring the smooth flow of traffic than just handing our tickets and towing cars. Truly, there are.

So things will change. The period before an illegally parked car can be clamped will be extended from 15 minutes to one hour. Drivers will not be charged the full whack for exceeding their stay on a parking meter by a second but pay a reduced fine.

Councils will not be allowed to set targets. Bromley council, in southeast London, stipulates that the parking contractor it hires, the German-owned Apcoa, should issue 73,000 tickets a year or pay a fine.

To help their wardens reach such targets, parking companies have reportedly offered big TVs and shopping vouchers as incentives to wardens. This will end.

And these wardens will have to be better trained. Being a traffic wane will require more than a uniform, the ability to obey orders to the letter and clicking heels…

Posted: 22nd, June 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink