Once shoppers get a parking charge they think twice about returning. A Worksop woman stated:
I don’t shop in Worksop any more after my family were hit by two £100 fines for picking someone up. We now go to Meadowhall where it’s free and we don’t get pictures taken of us. It’s invasive and you have to mess around imputing your registration into the machine, which you will get fined for again if you get it wrong.It is clear that the system is not fit for purpose - there appears to be no genuine reason why a charge would be issued for picking someone up. This clearly indicates either the signs are deficient or the pay on exit system does not show the correct charge to be paid. Issuing charges for inputting a wrong registration is another trick used by the more disreputable end of the parking industry. Car park operators who offer a genuine parking management service have systems which detect when an incorrect number is entered, and help the motorist to enter a correct number. However, this greatly cuts down on the number of parking charges which can be issued. Parking companies such as ParkingEye rely entirely on income from parking charges and use systems which are hard to use and maximise the number of errors a motorist can make.
The difference in management systems makes a huge amount to the number of charges issued. Freedom of Information requests show that managing a car park in a responsible way results in almost all motorists obeying the rules and so incurring no penalties. Conversely, farming car parks the ParkingEye way results in large numbers of charges being issued to the detriment of motorists, landowners and the general public.
ParkingEye's talent at farming car parks to maximise the ability to issue parking charges allowed them to increase their profit from the £1.7 million reported to the Supreme Court in the Beavis case to £4.8 million the following year (£3.6 million if a pro-rata adjustment is made to take into account the 2014 period is 16 months not 12). This is an abysmal track record if you consider that truly successful car park management is to achieve full compliance without the need to issue charges and alienate your customers, driving them away to rival establishments.
B&Q reportedly terminated ParkingEye's contract because they were driving so many customers away with aggressive enforcement. Once a new car park management company was installed, the customer base gradually returned.
Not everyone agrees with The Prankster's analysis of course. The manager of the Priory Shopping Centre, David Aunins, has defended Parking Eye’s car parking management, which he says is ‘safe and secure’.
It is not immediately clear to The Prankster why adding two ANPR cameras makes a car park either safe or secure, but perhaps if you are mugged while crossing the road at the exact moment a car is entering or exiting then the ANPR pictures can be used to catch your attacker.
The Parking Prankster