Monday 21 October 2013

Visitors parking permits - changes to the system

If you regularly get visitor permit scratch cards, you will know the process of getting them has changed over the years. Once upon a time we had local parking offices where you could get both residents and visitor permits, and when these were closed down you either could ring up and get them sent to you or you could visit the Town Hall and pay in person.

Soon you will no longer be able to visit and pay for them at the Town Hall - so you can only get them by phone or online but now the Council is moving to a new system altogether which they think will be more "flexible" and quicker.

This is from a recent parking document by the Council:

"Camden is in the process of moving away from the traditional approach of displaying a physical permit towards a system based on the vehicle registration being held on a database of active valid permits. This system is referred as ‘e-permits’ and is currently being introduced across Camden. The programme began in April 2012 and is expected to be completed by December 2014.
The eventual aim is to phase out all existing card permits as well as visitor permit scratch cards, so permit customers no longer need to display anything inside the vehicle).

E-visitor parking permits (eVPs) are already available in all CPZs across the borough. This means that rather than purchasing scratch cards, residents can now use their visitor parking permit allocation more flexibly by purchasing and activating their visitor parking sessions using the following channels: mobile app at the following link, via a permit customer account, SMS or by ringing Contact Camden. Once a customer has “migrated” to using e-VPs, they will no longer be able to purchase the old scratch card permits."
This is easier and qicker for some but not all "customers" - we recently had an email from a very aggrieved resident who said: " As a resident in Camden for over 36 years I have seen many changes in our borough, some good, some not so good. But the idea of closing the only site for buying visitors parking permits, Judd Street, at the end of October. thereby forcing people to phone in and buy by debit card, assuming you have one: or going on line for an 'e' ticket assuming you have access to a computer : or getting an app for your phone assuming you have a phone or your phone can take an app. My and many of my friends phones do not have that facility....

You have no proof if you use the internet or App system. You are reliant on information being accurate on the computer or you will be ticketed.

What happens when the computers are down ?
How do you convince a traffic warden that you have a valid permit to park there?

You have got to not only to buy time online but then have to phone/.email./text or however you make contact, and give the registration number of the vehicle and if it runs over the time initially allocated you have to be available to contact Camden, which will actually be a call centre (and how long will that take) to use more time rom what you have bought as an "e' ticket.

You will have no visual reminder of what time is left on the 'e' ticket.

What about the elderly with no internet access, or those with no phone, or whose phones cannot take the App, or who are out of credit, or in a poor reception are --- What are they to do?

If you use the phone they are only going to be there during office hours -- so what happens to people like my sister whose restriction go on until 10pm and on Saturdays?

Not only will you have to buy time with an 'e' ticket but you have to activate them on the computer as well. Not everyone is at home all day or has access to a computer all the time.

Sites do crash: what then?

When does Camden plan to publicise and explain /consult with residents? this is very shabby treatment indeed. This not a user friendly scheme!"

Says it all really!!

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