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Bonkers Blog October 2014

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30 October (Part 1) - Phone parking picking pockets

One parking story tends to attract another but this is a bit different because it highlights a point I would never have discovered myself. That’s because I have never paid for parking in Bexley; well not strictly true any more unfortunately because I went with friends to Northumberland Heath earlier this year and when we got to the Mill Road car park, I was the only one with change in my pocket. I know little of the practicalities of paying for parking, I even managed to put too much money into the Mill Road machine and of course it doesn’t give any change.

Oh yes, the story sent to me…

I had to park in Greenwich on Sunday. The meter was not taking coins so I succumbed to the phone option. It was pretty good. You register, then through a series of options book your parking. Included in the standard fee you get a text confirming what you booked and a text reminder about ten minutes before your parking fee runs out.

Stupidly this encouraged me to try the Bexley version. With that you go through the same procedure but if you want the text confirmation and/or the reminder there is an extra fee. So I decided not to request those options.

I was therefore pretty miffed when instead of the fee for phone parking being the same as for coin parking you get charged a ten pence admin. fee! I know its only ten pence but by paying by phone I save them the money on meter maintenance etc. but I pay more.

If you are parking all day ten pence is not a lot but if you need to slip into the local shops and the minimum charge is 80p then that's a huge percentage. So it’s typical of Bexley; pay more and get less service.

What I find interesting about that message apart from the fact that it came from a name you might remember, a former councillor, is that it indicates that Greenwich council absorbs the parking contractor’s fee and Bexley doesn’t, which makes Bexley council’s lie that it had the cheapest parking in South East London when it last raised parking charges, an even bigger lie than I knew it to be at the time.

Paying more for a worse service will be the new norm. The figures for recycling garden waste look like going the same way to me.


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