The overzealous ticketing of cars, in Swale Council car parks, when the fault clearly lies with the Councils highly inadequate and unreliable machines is not only causing unnecessary stress for law abiding members of the public but is causing untold damage to the towns economy and reputation.
The biggest single issue when the machine breaks down is that you as a member of the public simply cannot be trusted. By default you are guilty of not purchasing a ticket unless you can categorically prove beyond doubt that the machine isn’t working, and that isn’t always possible.
I had a meeting in London this morning, drove down to Cockleshell Walk car park, entered my registration and duly paid my £3:60 for an all-day ticket which the machine gladly accepted without actually issuing a ticket.
I didn’t have enough money to drive anywhere else and was desperately short of time as I had a train to catch. On the advice of another lady also waiting to pay, I telephoned the Council who asked me to hang on for a couple of minutes until a car parking officer could attend.
Obviously that wasn’t an option, so I was asked for my registration and told that if the officer found the machine to be working then I would be ticketed because I wasn’t prepared to wait, obviously if it was at fault then all well and good.
Now I don’t like the presumption on the Council’s part that I might be lying, but I had no choice in the matter.
Anyway, following the trip to London I arrived back at my car to find my ticket neatly tucked under the windscreen wiper, so obviously the attendant had found the machine to be at fault and recovered my ticket. Great I was innocent.
So what’s the problem I hear you ask?
Whilst I was telephoning the Council notifying them of the issue, so were two other drivers because I’d explained what had happened so they didn’t want to risk using the machine.
In fact one lady said "this is a regular event, happens all the time with this machine. Not to worry the Council won't ticket you."
They were presumably told the same as I was, so I was astounded to note that whilst the Council believed me, they still ticketed the two other drivers.
If either of the ladies concerned would like any help in disputing their tickets, please let me know.