19 April 2024

Council’s parking policy ‘penalises elderly’

East Riding Council has been accused of “acting like bandits” after a man received a parking ticket in a Hornsea car park despite the machine being out of order.

The unnamed 72-year-old Hessle resident had travelled to the resort for a day trip and parked in Eastgate car park. However, when he tried to pay, the ticket machine was out of order.

He called a switchboard number displayed on the machine, but could not get through to the right department.

He was told there was an option to use the MiPermit app, but he did not have his reading glasses with him so was unable to see it. He left his car but later received a ticket, which the council refused to waive.

The resident then called on Hessle councillor David Nolan, saying that many elderly people and those with disabilities were unable to use alternative methods if meters would not take cash.

Cllr Nolan said: “I was contacted by a Hessle resident who visited Hornsea and parked in an East Riding Council pay and display car park. The only ticket machine was out of action, so he couldn’t pay for a ticket.

“I contacted the council, asking for a bit of common sense to be applied under the circumstances and to waive the ticket.

“Their argument is that if you can’t pay for a ticket, then you can’t park in the council car park. This overlooks the fact that they had failed to provide the means to pay for a ticket in cash. It penalises elderly residents and those who are not able to navigate web apps, though not having smart phones or being visually impaired.

“The council needs to stop acting like bandits when its car parking ticket machine is broken. They need to show some respect for those unable to access smart apps. The instructions to pay online are very challenging and difficult to read or understand. The council makes a lot of noise about equality of access but then penalises residents who are unable to pay by apps.”

East Riding Council’s parking operations manager responded: “The introduction of the MiPermit system is designed to provide additional benefits to the service user, by making it quicker and easier for our customers to purchase and manage their parking permits and pay and display tickets online or via an app. It is important we look at ways of using technology to provide an efficient and beneficial service for all East Riding residents.

“It is, however, accepted that not all households have internet access, and East Riding Council understands this, which is why several payment options are available including cash, card, smartphone application and a telephone number to contact MiPermit direct, providing an additional facility to the customer, allowing them to make any purchases required.

“It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that he/she has permission to park for the entire duration of the anticipated stay in any particular parking place. It is the key condition for the
use of any council-owned pay and display car parks: a valid ticket must be obtained and clearly displayed in the vehicle immediately upon parking that vehicle in it or purchasing a virtual ticket through the virtual system (MiPermit).

“If a motorist chooses not to make payment for parking using the method of payment available to them at the time, they are expected to make alternate parking arrangements. Any motorist that chooses not to pay will run the risk of receiving a penalty charge notice.”

As this paper went to press on Wednesday, October 4, at the latest East Riding Council meeting, opposition Lib Dem councillors moved a motion to change the policy to ensure that where a ticket machine is out of action and there is no option to pay using cash, parking fines will no longer be issued for non-payment.