Fine sys­tem ques­tioned

Sunderland Echo - - Opinion -

Last month we re­ceived a park­ing fine of up to £70 from a park­ing in­stance at the Eye Hos­pi­tal.

The let­ter showed a pic­ture of my wife’s car timed en­ter­ing and leav­ing the car park on Oc­to­ber 5 sug­gest­ing no hes­i­ta­tion and I was re­signed to pay­ing the fine, as de­manded. My wife, how­ever, was adamant that she had bought a ticket and I was tasked (nat­u­rally) with check­ing our waste for the dis­carded ticket which I luck­ily re­trieved. Since writ­ing a let­ter of ap­peal en­clos­ing a pho­to­copy of the ticket, timed and show­ing the printed li­cense plate, I have re­cently re­ceived a let­ter can­celling the fine.

I am con­cerned that for many peo­ple this size of fine would rep­re­sent a large part of their weekly in­come and many would just ac­cept the fine with­out hav­ing re­tained the ticket or know­ing how to ap­peal, trust­ing the com­pany sys­tem to be 100% ef­fi­cient. Clearly it isn’t com­pletely fool­proof and it would ap­pear the I.T. sys­tem link­ing is­sue of tick­ets to time and car is more than ca­pa­ble of mak­ing a mis­taken judge­ment. It may have been mal­func­tion­ing on the day or for sev­eral days, how would we know? Does the Health Trust man­ag­ing car park­ing re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tion of sys­tem mal­func­tions to mon­i­tor its ef­fi­ciency and does it re­ceive a por­tion of the fines paid or is this sum all to the er­ro­neous ben­e­fit of the park­ing com­pany?

There ap­pears to be sev­eral ar­eas that merit in­ves­ti­ga­tion and com­ment from the Trust man­ag­ing car park­ing if this ex­am­ple is more than an iso­lated in­ci­dent and why aren’t the pub­lic ad­vised how fre­quently this oc­curs?

I would ad­vise any­one to re­tain tick­ets for at least a two week pe­riod in case they are hit by a sim­i­lar de­mand, and do not be afraid to ap­peal in writ­ing to the ad­dress shown on the de­mand let­ter with a copy of your ticket. Keep the orig­i­nal in case you have to take it higher.

Kevin Leary,

Sun­der­land

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