There Must Be Something in the Water Over There…

Here’s the story. A wounded veteran in the UK in a wheel chair got a ticket for parking in a disabled parking spot. He had applied for a disabled placard but hadn’t received it yet. He assumed that when he wheeled in to the parking office with his receipt for the placard, he would have the ticket voided. On the first go, it wasn’t. However, after the local council and head of the parking department heard about the issue, they immediately voided the ticket, apologized to everyone in sight, and started training programs for their staff. All’s well that ends well. Not quite for the parking department.

What was the headline?

Was it – War Hero receives disabled parking badge

Was it – Parking department gets its act together, finally

Was it – Poole Parking Puts Parking Ticket Right

Naaaaa – it was

Hero soldier blown up in Afghanistan fined £60 for parking in disabled bay despite the fact he’s in a WHEELCHAIR

The headline wasn’t even accurate – he wasn’t fined £60, his fine was never assessed. When the story was written, the ticket had already been voided. There was nothing that said that the newspaper told anyone and then the ticket was voided. The article says “officials” at the local council refused to rescind his ticket, but in reality that was probably one clerk who was having a bad day. You find out about that in paragraph 20 just after they give you a list of his injuries and an ab fab picture of him and his “partner” in front of the parking structure. Note that in the picture he looks dejected (well, he had just been blown up) but in the picture taken in Afghanistan he looks cute and happy.

This wasn’t even a story. But it gets headlines in the “Mail on line”. This is why we have to be so careful and need to ensure that the folks what work for parking operations and meet the public have the ability to make decisions. Too much regulation and too little front line thought can cause all sorts of problems.


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2 Responses to There Must Be Something in the Water Over There…

  1. Nickoli says:

    Whilst he almost certainly wasn’t fined £60, “his fine was never assessed” isn’t accurate either. The tickets (PCNs, or Penalty Charge Notices) are at fixed prices – there is a higher rate and a lower rate, and outside London, councils choose whether these are £60 and £40 or £70 and £50 respectively. Very nearly every council has chosen £70 and £50. Six years ago, all PCNs were £60, and the press is stuck in the past.
    The thing that gets me is the hatred shown towards the officer who didn’t initially overturn the ticket, when we may not know the full story – did he provide sufficient evidence? Anyone can roll up to a parking office in a wheelchair and give a sob story – we need to make sure that isn’t happening, frustrating as it may be for those in genuine need, it’s better than not being able to provide them with spaces at all.

  2. JVH says:

    Nickoli — time to put yourself in the position of the disabled person. In this story, our hero assumes that he was going to get a ticket, but was certain when he explained his situation at the office, it would be voided. THAT is where the problem began. He had already signed up for a placard, simply hadn’t received it yet. So the bureaucrat in the office is the one that “held the line.”
    My problem is the PR disaster that this caused. You are blaming the messenger. The press will milk it for everything it’s worth. that’s life. The way to solve the problem is not to make this mistake in the first place.

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