I drove into London the other day. Just took possesion of a BMW 1 series and wanted to make the most of it.
I parked just off Drury Lane on the street and went to the Pay and Display machine.
Now forgive me, but everytime I’d used a P&D machine it’s always worked the same way. You put money in, you get a ticket out.
I know, I know, there are issues – Like not having enough change, They always seem to charge just just over a natural point, i.e. £1.10 or £1.60 etc. – but it’s been the status quo for many a year.
Imagine my surprise that it only takes credit (or debit) cards. Duly dished out my debit card and popped it int eh machine. It asked how long I wanted to park for – 15 minutes should be enough for what I wanted to acheive – and waited. It told me to take my card out and I waited. After a short while the backlit display went off.
Hmm. No ticket, no receipt. Is this whats supposed to happen?
I was unsure so I phoned the number on the side of the machine (you could pay by phone as well) and spoke to the customer services person who was helpful.
I explained what had happened and that I had no ticket. Having checked her machine she said it hadn’t gone through and offered to sell me a ticket. This took the best part of 5 minutes to get through and required the number plate of my car – which as it was borrowed from the garage I didn’t know so had to find the car again.
Having let her know all this (including my debit card) she took money for a ticket. Except you don’t get a ticket any more. Oh no. Tickets are a thing of the past. So last century it seems. Not sure how the traffic wardens work now. Rather than look in the window they must have to enter the number plates of all the cars in the road each time they walk down each one. Must take ages to do.
Strange part was the instructions on the machine. It said you must display a valid ticket or get fined. How? The helpful lady couldn’t answer that one. It seems no one has asked that question before. I hope they figure it out quickly and update the machines.
So if you are in central London in a car looking for a parking space I suggest you find a car park as it will be a lot easier than street parking.