When is a 2 hour car parking ticket only valid for 1 hour?

1 07 2010

In Gloucester shopping car parks, or more accurately in their Pay on Foot car parks!

Yesterday, a friend visited Gloucester Eastgate Shopping Centre, (for those admirers of 1960’s shopping arcades, it is a good example).  Returning to the car park after about one hour, she paid for a 2 hour stay, shared a sandwich with her daughter in the car and then attempted to leave.
By the time she reached the exit barrier her ticket was refused.  The parking supervisor told her that she had overstayed the 10 minute period allowed to leave.
As the queue of waiting cars lengthened behind her, she stood (or actually sat) her ground.  “I have paid for 2 hours and only stayed for one hour.  I will not pay any more!”  The parking officer threatened to call the police.  “Call the police then!” she replied, arms folded, staring forward and trembling with emotion.
What she failed to appreciate was that normally in Pay on Foot car parks, as soon as you pay for your car parking ticket, your contract with the car park is over and you are expected to leave without delay, irrespective of any remaining time in the tariff period.
Thankfully good sense did prevail.  Faced with a stationary queue of cars waiting to exit and the prospect of explaining the finer points of contract law to an attending police officer, the parking officer raised the barrier for her to leave.
Is there a lesson to be learned here?
Shoppers, be aware of the importance leaving a Pay on Foot car park promptly!
Parking Managers, would better signing have avoided this confrontation?

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2 responses

13 02 2011
Derek Kissach

I find it hard to believe this story.
If she’d paid for the hour she parked, and then taken over 10 mins, then yes, I’d buy that.
But if you pay for 2 hours, then you’ve got 2 hours.

5 08 2010
Tony Suter

Why am I saddened but equally not surprised to read the circumstances of this local authority ‘rip off’. This is wrong morally and probably legally but a shining example of motorists being taken for an expensive ride by the people who are there to serve them (not the other way round).

It is not beyond the wit of officers of the council to adjust their machinery to allow payment for what you have had rather than what you might have had. This goes against the methods employed by some good authorities who, by payment on foot and prior to departure allow you to pay for the time you have spent in the car park and in those circumstances it is reasonable to expect a person to leave within a 10 minute period. What is unacceptable is to fix a minimum stay period and then require departure before the minimum period has expired.

Full marks to the driver for standing her ground and it will be interesting to see if the authority attempt to take further action. Definitely one to defend if they do and I volunteer to act for her!

Perhaps this story needs to go into the local press to shame the authority into reason and a sensible regime for their parking. Currently it demonstrates a complete mess.

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