Friday, 1 October 2010

The parking nightmare in Hull

I’m starting to think about the old-fashioned traffic wardens in a nostalgic way. They were the scourge of every motorist, but – in Hull at least – they generally used some common sense before issuing a parking ticket.

Five years ago, Hull City Council took over the responsibility of parking enforcement and awarded a contract to a private company, Vinci Park. I have no idea if their parking wardens are on commission, but judging by their behaviour, they may as well be.

If your car is parked in a space, but a small portion is hanging over a yellow line, you’ll get a ticket. One lady couldn’t get into a parking space, so decided to abandon her attempt and move into a larger space that had just been vacated. The parking warden issued a ticket because she moved out of the space and should not have used another space until an hour had elapsed. One 89 year-old lady received a fine for displaying her disabled badge upside down.

The behaviour of the wardens has prompted businesses in the city centre to organise a campaign against them. Needless to say the TPA is right behind them. In the current economic climate it is hard to earn a living. The last thing you want is customers driven away by petty jobsworths who have nothing better to do than inflict pain on unsuspecting members of the public who are, at best, guilty of minor infringements.

Hull City Council has said it will listen to the concerns and take them into account when its contract with Vinci Park  is up for renewal. This is where all of us can get involved. The cabinet member responsible for parking is Councillor Mike Ross ( Write to him and tell him how dissatisfied you are with Vinci Park and how tired you are of being treated like a cash cow. If enough people bombard his inbox, he will be forced to take this into account when the new contract is awarded.

In the meantime, I am in the process of contacting people to see how this campaign can be accelerated and given the prominence it deserves. I will – as ever – keep you informed of the progress made.

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