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£100 penalties to be introduced at Park and Ride sites…

Submitted by on September 24, 2014 – 7:00 am |

A coach brought in as a rail replacement service for a broken-down train on 2nd September 2014 at Stourbridge Junction could not manoeuvre because of incorrectly parked vehicles.Commuters who park badly at railway station and Midland Metro car parks across the West Midlands will receive a £100 penalty charge from September 29.

The sum will be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days, but further charges will be incurred if it is not paid within 28 days. Motorists will have the right of appeal.

Warning notices about the scheme are being put up and more than 20,000 leaflets distributed to users at all 59 free-to-use Park and Ride sites at railway and Midland Metro stops in the region by Centro, the region’s public transport co-ordinator.

Cllr Roger Horton, Centro lead member for rail and Metro, said it was being introduced because innocent motorists parking correctly were suffering at the hands of a selfish few whose lack of consideration was also putting pedestrians at risk.

He said: “Incorrectly parked vehicles have seen other motorists blocked in for hours at a time, while pedestrians are endangered by cars parked on pavements.

“Then there are emergency service vehicles that may need to access the station being obstructed by badly parked cars. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“Park and Ride has been a real success story in the West Midlands. We want that to continue and a selfish or thoughtless minority cannot be allowed to undermine it.”

The scheme will see parking officers working for a private company patrol Park and Ride sites issuing notices to any vehicle:

  • Not in a marked bay
  • On double yellow lines
  • Parked in such a way as to obstruct emergency services, other users or create a hazard
  • Parked in a designated disabled parking bay without properly displaying a valid Blue Badge permit
  • Using the car park for purposes other than Park and Ride

All money raised from parking tickets will go towards the costs of the running the enforcement scheme.

Park and Ride sites have proved so popular many of them are full before 8am on working days.

This has led to repeated incidents of people parking on grass verges, pavements, double yellow lines or in disabled bays because there were no spaces available.

On one occasion at Cradley Heath 170 cars were blocked in for three hours as a result of a line of vehicles parked outside of marked bays. On another, 80 correctly-parked vehicles were blocked in by just one car.

Similar problems have occurred at car parks in Rowley Regis, Coseley, Wolverhampton Priestfield, Wednesbury Parkway, Selly Oak and Northfield in Birmingham, and Whitlock’s End near Shirley.

In 2013 there were 80 recorded complaints, and in a two month monitoring scheme in January and February this year Centro received 20 complaints.

Cllr Horton said that since 1997 Centro and its partners have invested £15 million in Park and Ride.

But he said: “Funding and land cannot keep pace with demand and we have an obligation to all of our customers to manage the sites safely.

“We understand it is frustrating when you can’t find a parking space but people just cannot be allowed to park where they like.”

Stephen Rhodes, Centro’s director of operations added: “A further 1,000 spaces are being provided at 16 locations in 2014 and 2015 through extensions.

“Also, nearly 250 extra spaces have been created through optimising existing layouts ahead of the introduction of the enforcement scheme.”

“A large proportion of people that park at stations live within 800m away from them but still choose to drive when there are good alternatives such as cycling, walking or the bus, and we would encourage them to perhaps consider using one of those.”

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