New rules on parking charges have been unveiled, which could see the number of fines – and the amount paid – slashed for motorists.
The British Parking Association has launched a fresh Code of Practice for parking on private land, which their members will have to abide by.
And with analysis from the RAC Foundation predicting that private parking firms will issue 8.6 million tickets in 2019/20, two million more than in 2018/19, this is welcome news.
New clauses include further guidance on grace periods and self-ticketing as well as motorist keying errors.
Also, soft ticketing – where operators place a ‘notice’ on a vehicle which asks the motorist to check online or by telephone to see if their vehicle has committed a parking contravention- is now expressly forbidden.
What’s that about keying errors?
A minor keying-in-error is categorised as one letter or number incorrect or letters and numbers in the wrong order.
A major keying in error is one that has multiple number and letter keying errors, the first three digits only have been recorded or a completely incorrect registration number is used.
The change basically means parking operators can cancel parking charge notices (PCNs) in certain circumstances and reduce the amount to only administration costs in others (usually around £20).
And for the first time, POPLA (the independent appeals service for Parking Charge Notices) will be able to make decisions on keying-in-errors without referral back to the operator.
According to the RAC, previously firms have issued PCNs of up to £100 when simple errors have been made at ticket machines.
What’s self-ticketing – and what’s different now?
Self-ticketing can be defined as any ticket issued by a party who is not directly employed by the parking operator – for example a representative of the landowner.
The new clause in the code basically makes sure the operator ensures appropriate action is being taken – and the code is being abided by.
And how about the ‘grace periods’?
This will give you a minimum of five minutes between arriving at a car park and buying a ticket – very helpful for when you can’t find a space!
It’s also very useful if you need to turn around, check directions or drop someone off.
If you leave within five minutes there will be no charge.
AND companies will also have to give you 10 minutes after the ticket ends.
So, you don’t have to worry about a warden waiting to pounce on you a minute after the ticket ends.
However, the rules do also say that the grace periods are NOT free parking, so beware and don’t push your luck.
How has this come about?
Steve Clark, the BPA’s Head of Business Operations said: “Following consultation with key stakeholders, including consumer groups and government, we are delighted to release the latest version of our leading AOS Code of Practice.
“We recognise that genuine mistakes can occur, which may result in a parking charge being issued even when a motorist can demonstrate they paid for their parking. In recognition of this we have further clarified the situation for all parties.”
The British Parking Association represents the UK parking and traffic management profession. They have 750 corporate members including local government, commercial providers and parking system operators.
Will I still need to appeal?
Yes. But the BPA expects their members to deal with people appropriately at the first appeal stage.