Since being a parent, I have had many dealing with parking permit tickets/officers several times, but my worst experience happened recently when my 2.5 year old daughter was with me. My dealings with parking permit ticket has included stopping to attend to sick or crying children in the car, stopping to feed or breast feed and of cause, school runs.
Most Parents aim to be good role models for their children and will not deliberately break the law of parking or want unexpected cost to their financiers by parking in the wrong space. However, it seem to me that the parking permit officers have lost all sense of human behavior, empathy or common sense when it comes to issuing ticket.
I parked on one of the street in newham council at about 9am. Knowing there was a 2 hour parking restriction between 10am-12noon, I placed a visitor,s permit, which indicate parking for up to 6 hours and valid for one zone only (NOTE NO SPECIFIC ZONE INDICATED) as part of it’s condition of use. I went off with my daughter to a house on the same street. At about 2.30pm I came back to where the car was parked only to find it was gone. I walked down to the other side of the street, thinking maybe I had not gotten to where I parked but the car could still not be found. I remembered the stories of cars going missing and the first place to call should be the local council your car is parked, so I deceived to call newham council. I was passed on to the car pound number and there I was told my car had being carried away. I ask why, as I had a visitor permit on the dash board. The reply was my visitor permit was not for the zone I parked. I indicated I had parked in other part of newham using similar visitor permit and have never gotten a ticket. The reply from the phone was I had to come and pick up my car and it will cost me £265.00.
This is where it get interesting. The time now 3.00pm, 20 minutes before afternoon school run, a sleepy 2.5 year old toddler to carry, 3 bags and two winter coats to carry, little cash at hand and no cash machine around and a bus pass (I always have my oyster pass in my bag). Got to the bus stop, 4 buses later and was not able to get on one due to the buses being full. Called my older children school at about 3:15pm to explain my diliama after which I started wailking towards the school. From the bus stop to my children school is 1.7 miles. On getting to my older children school at 4.10pm, with blisters on feet and arms aching, the oldest was not felling too well. The school help get a cab to take all 4 of us to Newham car pound, fortunately, the last cash on me£10 was able to cover cab cost.
On getting to Newham council car pound, my angry emotions were running ahead of me, with tears rolling down my eyes, I expressed how inhuman the parking permit officer is to have noticed 3 car sits inside the car and still carried the car away. What reply did I get “we are only doing our job”. A job that involves you dealing with people and yet no common sense or empathy just because of making money?With no energy left for conversation, I brought out my cheque to pay the £265.00 fine, I am told “sorry we do not take cheques” in the most sarcastic voice. My look to the cashier says are you kidding me. In order to prove am not in the mood for games, I provided her with debit bank card, which all declined. and with this now in play, I was able to get in touch with family to help bring the cash.
From about 5.00pm on getting to newham car pound to about 7.30pm on leaving the place with the car, there was no sign on human nature or empathy shown by the staff at the newham parking pound. They did not offer a chair for us to sit on, so the children sat on the floor though out. If not for the left over from the children lunch bag, not even water was offered to the children.
The government tell parents to use public transportation and drive less to school, yet when the public buses are full during school run and there are no space to take more people on, how can this be encouraging for parents who drive to use the public transportation.
Most parents are law abiding citizens and are doing their best to raise the next generation, however, if the government and decision makers make it even more stressful in raising a child with rules and laws that have lost all common sense, how can parenting be easy.