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Parking Services

Ealing Broadway station parking problems

The council’s Parking Services organisation has started enforcement by CCTV outside Ealing Broadway station. This has given rise to much negative comment in the Gazette and the Ealing Today forum.

Last week the Gazette had a page 2 headline “£80 for 3 seconds’ parking”. This week it has printed four letters on the subject and there was another article on page 7 with the heading “CCTV ‘spycam’ angers drivers” along with their tendentious GONE PARKING MAD! logo.

Meanwhile there are two separate threads of comments on the Ealing Today forum:

I wrote to the Gazette last week to remind people that it was an offence to stop in bus stop clearways, ie those bus stops with a thick yellow line next to the pavement, and to invite people to get involved with the current scrutiny panel which is looking into Parking Services but the Gazette has chosen not to print my letter. Now I fully accept that as a councillor I don’t have a God given right to get my letters published, especially if they are tedious or long-winded. I thought it might be useful to point out that stopping in a bus stop clearway is an offence, something that the Gazette’s article refused to do – I guess it undermined the line they wanted to take. I thought it might be useful to promote the Parking Services Specialist Scrutiny Panel but clearly the Gazette wants to carp and wind people up and giving people the chance to raise their concerns with the council does not fit into its agenda.

In its reporting the Gazette is being misleading. For instance, this week they say people “have been caught out stopping for a matter of seconds by the stops”. Either they have stopped on the bus stops – offence – or they have not – no offence. Although some people don’t like these cameras at least you know where you are with them. You get to see the picture. Again there is no discussion in the articles of what offences may have been committed. No advice to the public.

Here is some public service information from me as the Gazette sullenly refuses to take this role on:

The drop off situation at Ealing Broadway is a mess and your councillors are aware of it and it will be dealt with.

The access road is private property. I understand the police have asked them to keep it coned off for security reasons.

We can debate the proper place of bus and pedestrian access as against car access but the fact remains that there are a bus stop and a pedestrian crossing directly in front of the station which have been given priority. It is an offence to park on either of these. The Highway Code says:

Rule 167: You MUST NOT park on a crossing or in the area covered by the zig-zag lines.
Rule 215: You MUST NOT stop or park on a Bus Stop Clearway within its hours of operation.

There are yellow lines opposite the station which you can use for dropping off. Picking up and dropping off is fine on yellow lines EVEN WHEN LOADING RESTRICTIONS APPLY.

The Highway Code is online here.

The council is aware that there are questions about Parking Services and as a result the Parking Services Specialist Scrutiny Panel has been set up to look at some of these. I am chairing it so I am learning a lot about parking right now.

There will be four meetings on:

  • Tuesday 11th September 2007
  • Thursday 15th November 2007
  • Thursday 10th January 2008
  • Wednesday 5th March 2008

All meetings are open to the public and will be held at 7pm at the Town Hall. Please note we will not be looking at the specifics of individual cases.

For more information follow this link.

75 replies on “Ealing Broadway station parking problems”

I am tempted to attend one of these meetings as parking enforcement is one of my pet peeves.

It may be within the strict law, but then it seems that the law needs changing or the signage changed. I did read the forums and noticed that someone asserted the difficulty for elderly or infirm car passengers if there is no drop-off point.

On a side note, was there a by-election in Ealing? I live in West Twyford (the corner that normally gets forgotten and has no real medical clinic). I had no notice through my mailbox. Don’t worry, I know your blog is not the place to make official complaints or anything =)

There are very few pick-up and drop-off problems at many rail and tube stations in Ealing, and this situation has existed for years. To expand this topic, drop-off and pick-up points outside Ealing schools is generally poor and has been so for many years.

Solving these problems ought to be what an organisation called ‘Parking Services’ is all about. It appears to me thouhg that the Council’s Parking Services organisation is all about is Illegal Parking Enforcement Services and should be renamed as such. At the same time the Council should create a Parking Enablement Services organisation whose role would be to helpfully enable reasonable and legitimate drop-off, pick-up and parking activities.

Alex,

The thing about laws is that they tend to be black or white. Drop off on bus stops and pedestrian crossings and get a ticket. Drop off on the adjacent and clearly visible yellow lines and it is no problem. You can’t pass a driving test without a working knowledge of the Highway Code. It is pretty clear.

There were by-elections in the Ealing Southall parliamentary constituency and the Cleveland council ward. West Twyford was not part of either area.

Eric,

Parking Services is mainly about enforcement. It also runs the council’s car parks and car pound. The people who do planning of road use are the Transport and Planning Policy team under Geoff Warren. The Parking Services Specialist Scrutiny Panel will look at what Parking Services does in respect of enforcement and ask questions like: is it fair and efficient? In this case we might ask: if they are enforcing a new area or law do they do enough to give the public the opportunity to change their behaviour?

You raise an interesting issue. The Transport and Policy team tend to be more orientated towards safety schemes than driving promotion schemes! This is probably because it is easier to get public opinion mobilised in an area to improve safety at a junction say. With issues such as drop off at public transport hubs the motorist is not represented by a body. The bus companies and TfL will argue loudly for their priority, fair enough, but the individual motorist’s voice may get drowned out. I know that Vlod Barchuck, the transport portfolio holder, is looking at this issue. The access situation at Ealing Broadway has been ramshackle for years. The use of enforcement cameras has highlighted the problem. If more people knew the law this would probably be a non-issue as people would go round the block until they found a yellow line where they could set down on legally.

Cheers Phil,

Common sense seems to be drowned out by TfL also. On Twyord Abbey Road there is a oneway system in place with about 200yds of road marked with red tarmac to give buses priority. I see lots of trucks parked at any time of the day, they have no need to move, there is not one bus that uses it, instead the buses go round the one way system with all the other traffic!

Halfway down Twyford Abbey Road there is a narrowing for cars and buses only gate in the middle of the road for priority. Again, no bus uses this because no route goes from one end of this road to the other. However what this does manage to do is create long queues of cars as we wait for a truck to turn round upon realising it can’t go through this road to access the industrial estate!

I hope Boris can do a better job than Kengestion Livingstone in regards to transport policy.

Dear Mr Taylor,

I’ve read your blog (http://www.philtaylor.org.uk/) about the penalty charge notices being issued to people filmed dropping off passengers at Ealing Broadway Station.

As one of the “victims” of this entrapment, I have to say that in my view what is going on there offends against natural justice.

I bumped into Mr Lit on Thursday evening as he was doing some last-minute campaigning in Murray Road. “I’m sorry, Mr Lit” I said, “I would like to vote for you but I am so angry with the conduct of Ealing Council that I can’t”.

“Why is that?” he asked.

“It is because of what is going on at Ealing Station”

“Don’t tell me” he replied. “Access to the staion is blocked with cones and if you drop someone off you are caught on zig-zag lines.”

“Exactly”

“Yes a lot of people have been complaining about this and I have written to Justin Stacey.”

“What did he say?”

“Well I have just sent him an email.”

“I hope you get a reply because I sent him an email and got no response.”

“I’m seeing him tomorrow and, win or lose, I will be raising this issue with him.”

Mr Lit did lose. I’m not saying that your policy (or lack of one) on dealing with the situation an Ealing Station cost him the election, but it certainly didn’t win him any votes.

I must say that your suggested solution to the problem – dropping off passengers on the other side of the road – only adds to the sense of an offence against natural justice for two reasons. Firstly, it presumes that the driver is going to know in advance that access to the station is coned-off (something which until recently seemed to be intermittent) and secondly because it is apparent that stopping on the other side of the road would cause much more of an interruption to the traffic flow than would pulling into the access area in front of the cones.

I am very surprised that Ealing Council is issuing hundred – maybe even thousands – of penalty charge notices rather that finding a solution to the problem in conjunction with First Great Western, who manage the station. You state that “I understand the police have asked them to keep it coned off for security reasons.” That sounds a little bit like hearsay. Is there actually any correspondence on this? What do the police then have to say about the problem of dropping off passengers? What do First Great Western have to say about it? Has anyone asked them? Have you asked them? You may, for instance, not be aware that on the National Rail website they are still listing amongst the facilities for Ealing Broadway Station that there is accessibility for Taxis. I wonder where.

It is not unreasonable for people to expect “joined-up management” of a situation like this. There seem to be three parties involved: Ealing Council, First Great Western and the Police. According to you the Police asked First Great Western to cone-off access to the station, and just at the same time as that was happening, Ealing Council install a camera to film cars stopping outside the station. What a coincidence! I call that exploiting a situation rather than managing it.

If you can’t see that this offends against natural justice, and can only quote the “traffic scriptures”, then in my view you shouldn’t be in local government. You should be a Traffic Warden.

Sincerely,

John

Lets hope Vlod shakes up “Parking Services” and they are made to realise that a drop-off area is part of modern life! The station is OUR transport hub and Tfl, the bus and rail companies must comply with the local communities requirements as represented by OUR council, who should be applying common sense for US. To say that the motorists voice is drowned out, in your reply to Eric, suggests that the bus and rail companies more or less doing what they want and the council lets them suit themselves. They were probably given far too much leeway by the previous council resulting in the current poor scenario and the in-house mindset needs to be greatly changed now that the Conservative party has a mandate to manage properly.

I would like you to come and explain to my 84 year old mother dropping off an elderly worshipper after a church service and coping with the busy station area that “if more people knew this law it would probably be a non-issue as people would go round the block until they could set down on a yellow line”. She would tell you not to be immoral and to go and read the bible!

Dear Phil, yes I agree with your statement re dropping off safely, where is this safe place?

I performed this once and received a penalty 2 weeks later; I have not made the same mistake again but believe many others have. I stationed my vehicle for a matter of seconds as the access road had been cordoned off, at that precise moment in time I believed this to be the safest place for my partner to exit.

Most people would have stationed momentarily in the first instance and in future drops found an alternative. I myself did just that and believe I have unjustly been given a fine. I will be making a representation against this penalty.

If Ealing Council and the proprietors of the access road had clearly stated that the road would not be available for access from a date prior to the CCTV going live, I can assure you the council would not be sending as may fines out in the post today.

As mentioned on an earlier correspondence, will you or the Council be held responsible when someone exiting the car from opposite the station into oncoming traffic gets knocked over whilst crossing the road?

I suggest Ealing council as a good will gesture cancel tickets issued to people who are not repeat offenders.

Regards

Paresh Kargathra

Strange how eager the authorities are to enforce the law when there is money to be made even if they have engineered the situation (albeit passively at Ealing Broadway Station) and how reluctant when there is real danger and no money to be made they are to enforce pretty straightforward Highway Code rules. It took me 8 goes to get persistant parking removed from double yellow lines opposite St Mary’s Church which obstructed the vision by motorists of pedestrians waiting to cross on the crossing.
I ended up at an Ealing Area Committee addressing the police commander. The chair bless him didn’t like it . But the police commander did take action and the area is now clear. Well done but what a struggle.

I have a copy of a PCN from the station forecourt camera. I have training (sad eh?) in the interpretation of aerail photos. This is clearly not an offence as the car is sandwiched neatly between zigzag lines and cones.
Anonymous operator No 1016 obviously got “carried away” or what?

Councillors ask us to vote for them to represent us. All fine (no pun intended) words until the sound of the till bell rings sweatly in the ears.
What is happening at Ealing Broadway Station just isn’t right. It is dishonest to make money out of poor infrastructure provision (please read trap). This sort of abuse is beginning to make life in Ealing unpleasant and/or more difficult and for those who can:t now be picked up less safe.

Put up the Coucil Tax 5%, discipline the operator No 1016 and put an end to this petty abuse. Open the access road and alter the plans already approved that also contain no drop off and pick up bays.

Thank you to all the previous contributors and for PT for offering us this chance to further justice and infrastructure planning. Don’t become a traffic warden.

Mr. Taylor.

My partner and I are too victims of this activity.
However, reviewing the highway code, you seem to have left out two important points.

This problem of people being find because they drop people off while parked on the zig zag lines is technically NOT a contravention of the legislation regarding zig-zag lines.

If you view the he Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997, (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si1997/240001-a.htm)
You will note under Section 4 that Regulation 20 has two exceptions applicable here..
These are:
Exceptions to regulation 20
21. Regulation 20 does not prohibit the driver of a vehicle from stopping it in a controlled area –

(a) if the driver has stopped it for the purpose of complying with regulation 25 or 26; (Stopping for signals, pedestrians or officers)

(b) if the driver is prevented from proceeding by circumstances beyond his control or it is necessary for him to stop to avoid injury or damage to persons or property; or

22. – (1) Regulation 20 does not prohibit the driver of a vehicle from stopping it in a controlled area –
(c) if he stops the vehicle for the purpose of making a left or right turn.

If we review the coning of the drop off area as advised by police, we can see that the typical driver is bound to stop on those lines if attempting to make a left hand turn (also allowed by Exception 22C above) into the drop off area and stop for a reason out of their control (Exceptions 21A and 21B).

I would be interested in finding out if anyone else has successfully argued against a parking ticket issued by Ealing Council on these grounds, as if such a precedent has been made, Ealing Council may be guiilty of fraud by False Representation if they continue the same practise after knowingly being found to have made a representation that might be false or untrue regarding a driver’s actions with regard to the regulations I have mentioned.

http://sfo.gov.uk/handbook/1171026313762.html

Thank you.

Having been driving for over 14 years and NEVER EVER broken a traffic rule or been issued with any penalty points, I am furious that on the 20th July 2007, on a very wet day, I stopped my car for literally seconds to pick up a couple of my friends from the front of EB station who came to Ealing to do some shopping (i.e. helping the local economy) and then a few hours later, once again stopped my car for less than 15 seconds to drop them off, and then 2 weeks later, was issued with 2 x £100 fines!! I am really lost for words. I (and as I suspect have thousands of other drivers) have stopped to drop/pick people up in the past near EB station and did not realise that I was breaking the law (had I known, I would never do it, just as I would never drive on a bus lane!). Yes, Ealing Council have indeed put up new signs on the lamp posts warning people against stopping, but has anyone actually questioned the height at which the signs are displayed and their visibility from the drivers seat on a wet rainy day (or even on a clear day for that matter!)?.
Is there a group that is campaigning against this injustice or will we just continue to let Ealing Council take advantage of innocent motorists?!

Has anyone successfuly challenged a PCN for stopping outside EB station while the access road was cordened off?

If that is the case then Ealing council will surely have to cancel the rest of the tickets they have issued for the same offence?

I also got fined for stopping on the zig zag lines at Ealing Broadway for a few seconds a couple of weeks ago – was picking up a friend and was not familiar with the area. This is just a money making exercise – it’s a total disgrace. Can anyone advise how to appeal it?

I must admit I was disappointed to read this, when so much of the rest of the blog talked so much sense. If someone drops someone off for 3 seconds, it is unlikely to cause any traffic hold up as the chances are the traffic will be stopped up somewhere ahead in any case. The person may have broken the law, but whether they have done anything ‘bad’ is much more questionable.

And on a wider point, is this really the future we want for ourselves, with unblinking cameras everywhere waiting to pick up on our slightest mistakes, how ever good our intentions may be (perhaps helping a friend that has a load of luggage or can’t walk so well). If this *isn’t* the future we want, why are we (in a democracy) rushing headlong towards it??

Hi All,

Read all your usefull comments & agree to most of them. My car recently got clamped on the bays opposite the station witin a minute. There seem to be no pick n drop at the station and to the access road is double yellow marked. Signs indicate no parking on double yellow lines and bays also display this Utter non-sense. Lack of planning and infrastructure is a blessing for making money Interestingly the private parking enforcement company is responsible for the bays and seems to be making hefty money. I was charges 180£ to get the clamp released. I have read somewhere that Ealing council does not clamp vehicles So are these bays a private property which seems to be a money making machine!!!!!!!!!!!!

As yet another victim of the entrapment of the enforcement cameras outside Ealing station I have to add my voice to the others in protest. Whilst Phil Taylor stated the Highway Code Rules, I would like to point out that Rule 167 states (as above) You MUST NOT park on a crossing or in the area covered by the zig-zag lines. It does not state that you may not STOP on the crossing or zig-zag lines, whereas Rule 215 states not stopping or parking. Therefore by the strict letter of the HC, stopping on the zig-zag lines does not contravene the rules so should PCN be issued in this case. Whilst I understand the need to keep crossings clear for safety reasons, I stopped for 1 minute to drop off a passenger at the very edge of the zig-zag lines and was penalised, remaining in the car throughout the procedure so I was not parked. Something needs to be done by the Council that is supposedly there to SERVE us all to rectify the situation to allow dropping off of passengers legally…or is it that the council is making so much money that it has no wish to cut off its ready cash supply.

I’ve been studying the pair that do the enforcement at EB station – a couple, he wears a uniform and generally stays in the van (illegally parked?!) and she’s dressed casually and jumps in and out to take photos, sometimes stands reading a paper in front of Budgens etc.

It seems to me that if she’s working for the council or even a private clamping company, she should be clearly identifiable as such. On the contrary, she has no uniform or badges and surreptitiously hangs around pretending to be a member of the public, only to whip her camera out, literally as someone pulls into a bay, then puts it away and carries on reading. Quick smirk to her boyfriend, job done, few more quid, happy days.

Firstly, if she’s not employed, could her actions be used to challenge a penalty notice in court? If she is employed, why is she so furtive? Why not dress up like a proper traffic warden so everyone can see what she’s up to and challenge her if they feel like it? Maybe she could even just wander over, in her new uniform, and politely tell people they can’t park there or they’ll get a £100 fine and would they like to move on. That would be quite civilised after all.

I’ve not seen the council camera, though there are so many now they just blur into a big mass. I do like the big brother flashing “you are being watched” lights. I feel so much safer knowing I’ll be fined if an anonymous operator decides I’ve done something wrong. “Dear Ealing Council, I know I was picking my nose but I did eat it after all so no harm done eh…”

A surprisingly candid warden gave me a £100 fine the other day for daring to park on a double yellow line for 1 minute and 30 seconds (he said I would have been fine for 3 minutes if I’d not put my wheels on the kerb, silly me for trying to keep the traffic moving past me on a narrow road). He said yes it’s all about money, nothing to do with common sense, I’m just following ze orders and it’s the council you have to blame. He was literally hiding behind a tree when I pulled up, he said he saw me pull up and pointed to where he was, a tree! Must have been bashing the numberplate into his machine before I’d even got out!

I’ve had enough of Ealing, I’m off to live somewhere where the council don’t treat the electorate like scum.

Dave,

Sorry to hear of your trials.

At Ealing Broadway Station I too have been done by the evil private clampers who police the private forecourt in front of the station. This has nothing to do with the council and the council does not use clamps anywhere in the borough. All our enforcement is either done by cameras or uniformed parking attendants.

The council’s enforcement of the zig-zags, which are there to protect pedestrians on the crossing, is done by a camera mounted on a pole opposite the station. This is a dedicated camera, paid for by revenue from fines. The public safety cameras are a separate system (which cannot be used by the parking people although the parking cameras can be used by the safety people).

I obviously don’t know the details of your second incident but I think the reason there were double yellow lines on the narrow road where you got a ticket is because IT WAS NARROW. Parking on the pavement isn’t really the answer so I might think this was a righteous ticket from the information you have provided.

I don’t suppose the council will ever be popular for enforcing the parking regs but the alternative is to just give up and be overwhelmed with cars.

Hi Phil,

I guess I would hope that officers can give the benefit of the doubt, if such a concept still exists. In “the old days” I could have expected a telling off and “if you do it again” sort of thing, like the police apparently still do.

I told him why I’d parked there, yes apparently it’s an offence, yes I know I shouldn’t have done it but as I pointed out, where else was I to park within 100 yards when I knew I was only going to be less than 2 minutes? He suggested metered bays in the town centre. Well yes, but it’s impractical. The thing that really annoyed me was that he said if I had genuinely caused an obstruction by not parking on the pavement, that would have been better in his eyes, as he couldn’t give me a penalty without giving me 3 minutes grace, and if he had done it would have been cheaper anyway! So I tried to do the best thing for other traffic and got a great big fine as a result. Where’s the sense in that?!

Once the ticket’s in the machine that’s it, no cancelling, no going back, no benefit of the doubt, can’t be revoked, not my problem sir, write to the council, they make the rules, I just enforce them, have a nice day. Oh and apparently there’s no point trying to challenge it because they won’t let me get away with it, they never do he said. Best to cough up the discounted £50 within 14 days.

It’s just easy money for the council. Fair enough if they didn’t enforce parking laws, we’d have anarchy. Just maybe if wardens didn’t hide behind trees and wait for you to commit an offence, and maybe if they had the ability to tear up tickets rather than saying “it’s in the computer now, too late”, you know… There’s enforcing the rules like a robot, and being underhand about it. And then there’s using common sense and judging each case on its own merits, being a bit lenient if the person you’re dealing with wasn’t aware they were committing a £100 offence.

So who is pocketing the money from the station clampers? Railtrack? LUL?

I challenged the fine – for stopping on the zig zag lines at Ealing Broadway for a few seconds to pick up a friend. It has taken over two months from the date of the original letter for them to reply and of course they have rejected my ‘Challenge’.

Some questions:
If I don’t pay within 14 days (£50) and wait for the ‘Notice to Owner’ (£100), what formal representations can I make? What happens?
Is there a time limit by which they should have responded to my ‘Challenge’ i.e. 2 months seems excessive?
Has anyone tried to get their MP involved?
What about the inadequate signage?
Why can Ealing Council say they take no responsibility for the placement of cones at the entry to the station yet fine people when they have nowhere to stop? It’s entrapment at its worst.

Ealing Council have certainly thrown common sense out of the window. It’s a money making exercise and an abuse of the general public. Elected representatives who permit this to happen are a disgrace.

I am writing this because I am furious that Ealing council is imposing such fines and without adequate warning on unsuspecting motorists. Truly, what has this country come to when generally law abiding motorists are caught out in this covert manner. What next, fines for stopping momentarily on a double yellow line or for crossing the road when the lights are red? Common sense must be applied or we will all lose faith in the actions of our councils. Cameras should be there for safety not to generate profits.

I for one will be challenging the excessive fine imposed on my wife on 4th December 2007 for dropping off a friend at night at an Ealing bus stop – she stopped only for moments to let her friend out. The cost to us £50 or £100. Fair? Well, the righteous amongst you will say you broke the law so fair. But this is not common sense, this application of the law is in my view unfair because it is disproportionate and there was no adequate warning to the motorist that such a fine applies or even exists. There is a common sense distinction between parking and dropping off which a child will be able to tell you.

You cannot fine people for stopping in this way if there is no adequate warning against it. On a first offence a written warning advising the motorist that subsequent offences will incur a fine seems more appropriate vis a vis the supposed contravention and will certainly deter those law abiding motorists from repeating it. In my view the council is simply profiteering from the majority of motorists’ ignorance that such a law even exists or indeed carries a penalty notice. I for one have been driving for 20 years and was not aware that stopping for moments at a bus stop would carry a heavy penalty and disproportionate fine. Speed cameras are highly visible and advance warning signs advising of their presence are highly visible. Generally parking restrictions are equally sign posted. I think the Evening Standard needs to find out about this.

dear phil
i have just been done opposite EB ST for dropping off £60 or increasing ammounts with menaces by parking direct (do they work for the council?.

as for voting I for one will not vote for one of the main three parties until
there is some sort of justice in this country that protects tax paying law abiding citizens I also oppose the DVLA selling off my information to a private firm.

regards

mark stevens

Mark,

Nothing to do with the council.

I recommend not paying. This is a civil matter. To get money off you they have to prove they have a contract with you. Very hard to prove.

I recently had a hire car and on 1st december 2008 had to pick my 14 year old daughter up from Ealing. I drove round Ealing for ages and eventually spotted what appeared to be parking immediatley in front of the station. Having pulled in I noticed that there were restriction and immediatley pulled out without having stopped for more than 2 seconds. To my horror and over three months after said offence I am now in receipt of a letter from the hire compnay cliaming that a fine has been imposed by Park Direct Ltd. The evidence they provide is a photo of the car, clearly with ALL of it’s lights on and I am now being told I need to pay a fine of £160 which is reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days of issue, the hire co received the letter on 7th Feb and have only just managed to track down that it was me driving, kindly giving 3 days to resolve this mater.

What is the legal standing here, do I need to pay the fine, no ticket was issued, just a photo taken at night (hence why I can see the lights on the car).

I welcome anyone response to this as being a father of three £60 will get all of them new trainers each at the least.

Scott

Scott,

Don’t pay.

This is nothing to do with the council.

It is a civil matter and effectively a try on.

If they want to get money out of you they need to go to court and prove that they have a contract with you. Under the 1999 unfair contract terms regulations they haven’t a hope.

Don’t pay. Forget it.

Phil

Scott,

Only just found this blog.

Exactly the same happened to me. I drove to Ealing Broadway from Birmingham in mid December. Like you I pulled into a bay, saw the no parking sign and immediately left without stopping. I was in a company car and the notice from Park Direct has arrived in the last couple of weeks. In my photo the car’s brake lights can also be clearly seen.

I have challenged Park Direct and now they have written asking us to phone them to discuss. I think I would prefer to deal in writing.

Luckily my employer is supportive and has provided to advice and guidance and there is help available from CAB if I want it.

How did you get on??

Shirley

Dear Cllr Taylor,
I note that you are very concerned with the entrapment of drivers stopping to let passengers off outside Ealing Broadway Station. Are you aware that this practice also occurs elsewhere in the borough? A camera vehicle gets parked in one of the few parking spaces outside Greenford Station. Any car wishing to drop a passenger is thereby unable to utilize that parking space and consequently stops on the road where the parking bays begin. Unfortunately this is just at the end of the zigzag markings which extend from the zebra crossing towards the parking bays. The camera operator then takes a photograph of the car with the passenger door open – and thereby nets Ealing Council another easy £50. The driver of the Camera vehicle deliberately occupies a parking space for the purpose of forcing and recording some unsuspecting motorist break the law for a few minutes. This is surely entrapment and thereby illegal. What adds insult to injury, is that the very same law does not apply equally to everyone. A taxi or any vehicle dropping fee-paying passengers at the same place – ie on the zigzag beyond the zebra crossing – is not breaking the law; indeed may park and await further customers.
Yours sincerely,
A. Acorn

A Acorn,

I am sorry but I don’t see it the way you do.

If we are going to enforce with a camera van you would expect it to park safely so it is no good complaining that they don’t park somewhere they shouldn’t. It is also a bit rich to complain about entrapment when the van is so obvious.

People who stop on zig-zags – private cars, minicabs, black cabs, vans, everyone, are breaking the law and endangering pedestrian crossing users. It is reasonable to prioritise pedestrians immediately outside Tube/train stations by placing pedestrian crossings right in front of the station. It seems reasonable to me to then try to put the bus stops as near as possible. Cars wanting to set down or pick up passengers are fully entitled to stop on any single or double yellow lines, regardless of waiting restrictions, at any time.

Some car drivers haven’t read the Highway Code recently and don’t realise it is a total no-no to park on either the zig-zags or bus stop clearways. Similarly they don’t realise that it is quite OK to set down on yellow lines.

Some car drivers think that there should be space for them to drop off right in front of stations. Sorry but people who have taken the trouble to walk or get the bus get priority. Surely car passengers can walk a few yards to the station from the nearest adjacent yellow lines?

The council doesn’t want to fine people but it does want them to respect the law. By the way the law requires officers to enforce the law as they see fit. It is illegal for councillors – me, the Transport portfolio holder, the council leader, to interfere with that.

i’ve just recieved a demand for £100 for dropping off a passenger outside EB station who, like me, is registered disabled and has mobility problems. I have no words to express my disgust and contempt for the cinical thieves of Ealing Council who, in my opinion deliberately set out to entrap motorists in the rat trap they’ve created outside the station. I’m disabled, I currently have £78 in my account and must find £250 in the next fortnight for my insurance – I have no money! how am I supposed to pay their filth fine??? I’m too angry for words – I hope Ealing rots.

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the advice re Park Direct charges. I was caught while waiting for my children but I was in the car the whole time and would happily have moved on if asked, but it was late on a Sunday and not that busy. Do you have experience of the consequences of not paying? How persistent are they? Did it actually get to court? It’s clearly a money-making scheme and nothing to do with ensuring traffic flow.
Thanks.

Dear Mr Taylor

I have just received a PCN for stopping on the zig-zag lines when I was dropping off a passenger at Ealing Broadway Station.

The photographic evidence they supplied does clearly show that my car is stationary and a passenger is exiting.

However, the actual sequence of events, not shown by the still photograph, is different.

I had intended to, as many others have also, to pull into the access road in front of the station. I was prevented by doing this because of the cones.

I started to pull out of the entrance of the access road to drive away and find an alternative drop off point. I was stopped from doing so by another car that had also tried to pull into the access road to drop off passengers which had now moved on several yards and stopped to let out their passenger.

At this same moment the pedestrian crossing lights had turned to red so I could not proceed pass the car in front as I would have been overtaking a vehicle on a pedestrian crossing and there was other traffic rolling up to the lights at the time.

I decided to let my passenger out at this point, as I could not drive away because the lights were on red and I was now in a queue of traffic.

Is it still an offence to let a passenger out of your car if you are stationary at the traffic lights because they are red? Do you think I might have a case to appeal?

Yours sincerely

Rob

Hi, just a question would like to ask? 22nd of May my husband was running late for his work and offered to drop him by the station. As i was pulling in i saw a lorry unloading a delivery in front of the station so there wouldn’t be any exit space for me. It is only way in and i literarry stopped right before the zigzag was starting still i think on a single yellow line for 3 or 4 seconds to drop my husband off. On the photo it is clear shown that he left the car and i moved. I do not think i made any obstruction there at 7am. I will write to them to watch the video and appeal it too. While waiting for the answere, is the payment freezes? i would never drive by the station i think otherwise you get filmed. Is dropping off allowed in my case just before zigzag?

Dear Councillor,

I was interested to read about the case in Sheffield earlier this week where the council was ordered to repay motorists more than £100,000 for failing to use adequate parking restriction signage.
Last month I too was caught on camera dropping off some one at Ealing Broadway Station and was issued with a £100 fine. In my case the incident occured on a Bank Holiday Monday when parking restrictions are usually relaxed and at time in the morning where there was no other traffic along Haven Green.
From reading your blog it appears that many motorists seem to share my view that the existing signage is far from adequate. I would be grateful if the councillor could investigate whether the signs in place comply with Department for Transport guidance and explain how the council plans to respond to the recent statement from the department that councils should “seriously reconsider” repaying fines in cases where they are aware that they were potentially issued illegally.

Some interesting experiences and opinions there. I’m particularly happy that it eventually got clarified that the ‘Park Direct’ ‘tickets’ are a private issue. Their particular behaviour outside Ealing station has been the source of extended discussion on a website that I use – most particularly, that this is an unenforcable scam.

I recommend that site to anyone who would like help in appealing Council tickets or advice on how to deal with the private parking companies.

Ealing crops up quite frequently as they continue to issue PCNs ‘without authority’ (hence illegally) because they cannot get to grips with the fact that several of their yellow box junctions do not comply with the law. It’s not rocket science – it’s incompetence.

Ealing also have a very high number of sites where enforcement takes place via CCTV. As at March, over 100 with 70+ more listed for introduction. (That is sites not cameras – of which there are probably far more).

The site I recommend is ‘Pepipoo’ aka ‘Fightback Forums’. If you google fightback forums the home page will be first in the list. It is free but it is not a service – just a group of people helping each other out through the minefield of legislation, Council incompetence and intransigence, appeals processes, etc.

Just a tip, don’t assume anything from the numerous posts on individual cases: They can be usefully informative but always ask for advice on your particular situation. This is particularly important as legislation has changed recently and is now a bigger minefield – what applies in one case may not apply in yours. You will also get better responses if you show a willingness to do some legwork yourself – don’t expect others to always trawl through the legislation for you – some will but most of us will just point it out for you to read.

That’s about it and I hope Phil doesn’t object to this post: Just trying to point out a good source of help for the issues raised here. I have no financial connection to the site mentioned.

Good luck people

I was another person snared for £100 for stopping for 30s to drop my wife off at the station. I called the number on the fine and they said turn right an stop there. Why are the signs not clear.

This is just a money making scheme.

The Zig zags are very short and far from any crossing.

This was my first week in Ealing.

How many people have been fined in this way?

This seems unjust.

I am furious at Eaing Parking Services! How can you justify a fine of £50.00 for dropping someone off quickly? Daylight robbery!!!!!!!!

I am going to seek advice and fight this! Why should we pay such an huge fine for this!?!?

Can you please explain to me how they devised the £50.00 figure?I think with all the developments that are going on around there, you should incorporate better drop off facilities!

Wayne,

The £50 is set by law so blame Parliament.

You only picked up a ticket if you stopped on the zib-zags of the pedestrian crossing or the bus stop. It is clearly stated in the Highway Code that you must not park in either place.

You are allowed to drop off on yellow lines even if there there are waiting restictions, again in the Highway Code.

If the police catch you on zig-zags you will get an endorsement on your licence so it really is not on.

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the information.

I am going to check outside ealing broadway tonight about the yellow lines. I did not park on the zig zag lines and am sure that i did not park within a bus space! I just think Ealing Council need to think about creating a drop off lane and utilise all the £50.00 charges that they are are receiving so that you can drop off people legally and safely.

Hi Phil,

I’ve witnessed and been a victim of these cowboys outside EB station. Theres no fixed CCTV in use, its all handheld cameras which I question the validity of. Two staff (normally dressed in black with no identification, perched outside the Health Food shop) taking the pictures that have no timings on. All conjecture when they send (or rather have sent) me a fine – 2 months after the event as well.

The poor devil I witnessed, firstly I saw them photograph him as he pulled in. Then the opportunity arose for them to go further as he left his car after sitting there for 5 minutes to go into Budgens, and when he did they crept up to the car and clamped him – immediately and deliberately raising his “fine” from £60 to “120. I genuinely do mean they crept. The clamper as on his hands and knees and deliberately clamped the side away from where the driver was looking. Absoutely disgusting. Is this the type of customer welcome Ealing wants to promote?

For the record, I think the council can do better in respect of managing this area. Whilst the immediate land outside of EB is private, entrance into is not and there is plenty of opportunity to place significant warnings outside advising motorists of these thieves.

Had noted that the staff from Parking Thieves were sitting on a chair outside the health shop when I was there – Pavements fall into council jurisdiction do they not? Are they allowed to sit there? At least make these sods stand up all day!!! Councils’ great at enforcing bye laws, no matter how petty, c’mon big Phil – go get them and exact our revenge.

Ealing Council Parking Services went way off brief years ago… they should be protecting local residents from illegal parkers. Instead, they target local residents.

Take any road in Ealing and I’ll bet more fines have been generated by the road’s residents than by any other motorist put together.

If a car is registered to a specific address in Ealing it should not be liable for a ticket at any time if parked in that road.

Anything else is merely underhand tax.

S

I have just received a PCN informing me that back in July I parked in one of the bays outside Ealing Broadway station, which I did very briefly to pick someone up, but was not aware I could not! Although as I pulled away I noticed a sign saying I could get clamped but didnt worry as I was leaving!

First of all the letter was posted to my previous address, so I would no have got the notice if I hadnt happened to pass buy and check to see if I had any post.

Secondly the offence was back in July, it is now October! What have they been doing in the meantime.

Thirdly can these private companies get our personal information from the DVLA? What about Data Protection?

I have read other posts and noticed that other people have had similar incidents, could I ask what have other people done? Have they paid?

Many Thanks
Vicky

The same thing has happened to me. I checked out on the website to get some background. I read in Phil Taylor’s, the councillor on the Parking Services Scrutiny Panel that: ‘There are yellow lines opposite the station which you can use for dropping off. Picking up and dropping off is fine on yellow lines even when loading restrictions apply.’ I took this to mean the private parking opposite the station on which I was booked (though he may have been referring to the opposite side of the road) and on this basis appealed. The appeal has just been turned down. I suggest everyone refuses to pay as the whole matter is clearly quite ludicrous. I am amazed that it has been going on since 2007 and should have been sorted out long ago.

Hi Phil,
On 25th July 2008, at 18:01 o’clock, I have stopped my car in front of Ealing Broadway tube station, as I have seen some other cars were stopping there, so I thought it’s a parking area. I did get off the car, and walked for about 6-7 meters to check whether it’s a payable area or not, as I didn’t know there are signs fixed on the little fence in front car parking bays tells it’s a privet car park. However, when I turned back towards my car, there were the guy with little short and very casual dress, was walking towards my car from the opposite side carrying the clamping ring. I realised he is after clamping my car, as I approached my car before even him, I have told him “ you don’t need to am leaving , and he replied “ok”, I get inside my car trying to switch the engine on and leave. Surprisingly, I saw him in front of my car trying to clamp it. I get off the car and asked him “what are you trying to do”, he replied in a very cheeky way “its done.. mate”. I asked him to release the clamp, and explained that I have no intention to breach the law, but he was keep saying “its done…its done”.
I can tell from his face he was quite happy that he managed to clamp the car in few seconds at the time I was inside the car attending to leave. Later, I asked him to give me the office telephone number, in order to explain what happened exactly, at that time he was taking photos for the car and I was standing next to it. Both the parking office and that guy refused to listen to me and release the clamp, and they asked me to pay the full amount of releasing the clamp fee first and then I can appeal against this fine, and that what I did, after I have been told by the parking office manger that he will write a notice about this matter.
Eventually, I took my car off after paying the full amount of £182, and lift the parking.

I have sent them three registered letters, and then called them for about 5 times each time, but I have recevied Nothing from them.

Would kindly advice me what to do and where to go.

Ali,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I have myself been done by these people – Park Direct. They are a private contractor working for the station owners, First Great Western.

Now you have paid it will be hard work to get the money back.

The one thing you could try is to use the small claims process and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. These say it is illegal to make penalty charges. Businesses can only charge for services actually rendered. This is the legislation people have used to challenge bank charges.

Sorry but I can’t help you any further. With a bit of determination and a few Google searches you should be able to work it out.

PCN issuance.

Spooks or Parking Management legislation?

The objective of painting SPEED cameras yellow was to slow down speed of drivers rather than to collect money. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-new-yellow-peril–painted-speed-cameras-619043.html Painting speed cameras yellow was also because of a campaign led by the AA.

Presumably the main objective of PARKING cameras is to relieve congestion and increase safety, rather than collect money.

As the Government agreed that yellow paint would slow traffic, which of course it does, I see no reason why parking cameras cannot be painted with a strong colour so as to reduce congestion which they very probably will. If intent can be realised by just a lick of paint, then what really is the difference?.

If parking cameras are covert, why is it that the visibility of speed camera positions is governed by law. If parking cameras continue to be covert then why should we not be angry and distrustful of our Councils?

I was studying one of the mobile camera vans yesterday. It is painted white and has a red stripe painted around it, both on the sides and on the back door. On the sides it indicated that it was an Ealing parking enforcement vehicle. Interestingly it did not do so on its front or back. Since virtually all vehicles park along side the kerb it seems covert to put the signage along the sides but not at the back or front.
The van’s engine was running but the driver was nowhere to be seen. I knocked and had to coax him to open the window to explain why the engine was running. I suppose there is some law which says that being in the back of a camera van (on a single yellow line all day) does not count as a vehicle not being attended while the engine is running. (See section 123 of the Highway Code). He said he had to run the engine for so many minutes while he recharged the battery. So much for Parking Services carbon footprint. What a shame that better technology is not being used by our Council. The pollution then usually is blown towards central London.

I have noticed that the majority of people do not generally look much higher than 15 feet above ground in an urban setting. The van camera, which has quite a small lens, is higher than 15 feet. I do not think that this camera is immediately noticeable to the majority. If nothing else the roof of a saloon car obscures the view. So it is an idle argument to say that most people see the camera especially while manoeuvring in a car in busy traffic.

While Phil does not agree with me, I consider that the overly high positioning of plain coloured cameras in many places is covert. So I sympathise with those who think this and other Councils revel in breeding cash cows first, and only secondarily do they install cameras to keep the Ministry of Transport sweet. Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be complaining either when Ealing asks for its next round of central funding.

What is needed is more extensive short term parking, and brightly painted cameras which are in your face. What do your correspondents think?

In August 2008 I got into one of those parking bays at EB Station. When realised that was a restricted area I pulled back and drove away I was driving a rented car which was returned few days later.

Last week (November 2008) I received a letter from the renatl company asking £35 pounds for administration fees (which were however already been taken off from my credit card without my authorisation even before the company wrote to me).

Anyway called the rental comapny asking why I had been charged £35 administartion fees and I was told that the fees are in relation to a Parking Ticket Notification which they have received by them in the beginning of November as back in August the car was seen (in camera apparenly) pulling in one of those parking bay at EB station presumibly controlled by Parking Direct.

The current situation is

(1) £35 taken out from my credit card by the car rental compamy withot my permission. I believe that they do not have neither the rights to keep my personal details and credut card on file.

(2) I was told by the rental car company that they have passed my details to Parking Direct so that Parking Direct can Issue a ticket to me.

I would like to understand if the rental car company was entitled to cahrge me £35 for administration fee (difficult to understand to administrer what rather than passing personal detail to parking Direct).

Do I have any kind of appeal against the actions taken by the rental car company?

In the event that parking Direct issue me a ticket what should I do? considering also the fact that even the notification to the car rental company was more than 2 months after the event happen?

Many Thanks
Malcom

# Vicky Says:
October 10th, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I have just received a PCN informing me that back in July I parked in one of the bays outside Ealing Broadway station, which I did very briefly to pick someone up, but was not aware I could not! Although as I pulled away I noticed a sign saying I could get clamped but didnt worry as I was leaving!

First of all the letter was posted to my previous address, so I would no have got the notice if I hadnt happened to pass buy and check to see if I had any post.

Secondly the offence was back in July, it is now October! What have they been doing in the meantime.

Thirdly can these private companies get our personal information from the DVLA? What about Data Protection?

I have read other posts and noticed that other people have had similar incidents, could I ask what have other people done? Have they paid?

Many Thanks
Vicky

Malcolm,

See various answers above.

You had a contract with your hire company. Your only redress is with them. You can argue that under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 they are not entitled to fine you only to make a reasonable charge for their services which reflects actual costs and a reasonable profit. I suspect that it is not worth your time.

As for Park Direct I have recommended to many people that they simply ignore their notices. If they come after to you, which they won’t, they would have to justify their charges in terms of costs of actual services you have received. Again under the same legislation they are not entitled to fine you.

Hi Vicky,

As I indicated in my post above, I have no intention of paying. The whole thing is quite ridiculous and is based on the premise that people will give in to being bullied by pathetic organizations like Park Direct whose only interest is to make as much money as they can by intimidating people.

I was caught out by Park Direct on 16 Sept. I received the notice on 5 november. I wrote to them that I was only parked for 30 second and did not believe that the contravention they referred to occured. They wrote back rejecting my appeal. Now I am in a dilema whether to pay

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