Perry’s latest money-making wheeze? Big Brother parking

Croydon’s vandal-backing Mayor, Jason Perry, who showboats his opposition to ULEZ in public, now wants to hit motorists in Croydon in the pocket with his own money-grabbing parking app.

Turned off: the South Croydon parking trial, where meters were turned off, left motorists confused and angry

Perry’s new fans from the anti-15minute city mob will be outraged.

The piss-poor Mayor wants to get rid of the borough’s parking meters.

Under Perry’s money-spinning proposals, the meters are to be replaced by a system where people are only able to use council-run car parks or parking bays if they have their personal details logged with a Town Hall version of Big Brother, and they check in and out with a mobile phone every time that they park their car.

The proposals also include a sharp reduction in the amount of time people will be able to park their vehicles without charge in certain shopping areas in the borough.

The system has already been trialled in South Croydon, causing confusion and some anger among traders as well as motorists, and the part-time Mayor yesterday launched his consultation on borough-wide proposals.

Like a record with a stuck needle, piss-poor Perry trotted out his unconvincing line that “We have listened to residents and businesses”, before trying to claim that, “Our new parking policy sets out… to help residents and support traders.”

The truth, of course, is that it does nothing of the sort.

Instead, it will usher in an automated parking system, using smartphone apps, which the cash-strapped council hopes will generate millions of pounds in extra revenues and fines.

And it could make it impossible for anyone who does not own an expensive smart phone to find a parking space in Croydon without risking a £120 fine.

Besides, have you tried to grapple with any of Croydon Council’s dysfunctional online systems recently?

The Mayor’s loyal workers in the propaganda bunker at Fisher’s Folly had to work overtime to spin the more sinister aspects of the proposals in their consultation announcement yesterday.

“A new consultation is launching today…”, does anyone ever launch an “old” consultation? “… to gather feedback on the council’s proposals for a new parking strategy.”

They try to claim that the proposals will “make it fairer for all road users and make the most out of road space in Croydon”.

And they try to make out that Perry’s cash-generating scheme will “reduce congestion” (they fail to say how) “and manage parking demand while supporting local businesses and residents”.

Expect the Town Hall clock to chime 13 any day now, in true Orwellian fashion…

One “highlight” of the council’s scheme, according to the council, is “the introduction of virtual permits to improve service efficiency, and better parking controls in areas with high demand for on-street parking”.

The giveaway comes in the council’s draft policy document, which early on tries to claim it is not “anti-car”, one of pro-pollution Perry’s bête noires, but which on what it calls Policy Four, “Efficient Service Management”, manages to set in bold type the word “efficient”, “efficiency” or a version thereof no less than five times in just a handful of paragraphs.

This is all about more cuts to council staff, while ensuring that the punters’ money keeps rolling in.

Digital exclusion: the Mayor’s money-spinning proposals will make it harder for many to park their cars without risk of a £120 fine

“Virtual Permits to replace the traditional paper permits,” it says.

“Cashless parking phone apps are already used throughout the borough and are far more efficient than physical pay and display machines,” they write, speaking from the council’s perspective, rather than that of the consumer.

“We will deal with all enquiries in a timely manner ensuring these are dealt with fairly, efficiently and transparently.” Which would be a first.

Any major changes to parking arrangements in Croydon should be subject to their own individual consultations before coming into effect, using parking data gathered from the streets. How the council might manipulate this data before making it available to the public, they omit to say.

Six public drop-in sessions have been arranged where local residents and businesses are invited to provide feedback in person, and have questions answered by the team.

Starting next week, what they call “drop-in sessions” have been scheduled across the borough:

  • Central Library, 27 September, 10am – 12.30pm
  • South Norwood Library: 28 September, 12pm – 2.30pm
  • Purley Library: 28 September, 4.30pm – 7pm
  • Thornton Health Library: 10 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
  • South Norwood Library: 11 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
  • Coulsdon Library: 12 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
  • Purley Library: 18 October, 12pm – 2.30pm
  • Central Library: 18 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
  • Coulsdon Library: 24 October, 10am – 12.30pm
  • Thornton Heath Library: 24 October, 4.30pm – 7pm

There is an online questionnaire on the council website which will close at the end of October.

Residents who had got wind of the scheme have already made their feelings known. “Whose dreadful idea was this?

“What of those who do not have mobile phones? It’s not fair on those who do not have smartphones and do not understand technology.

“Even those who do have smartphones don’t want to use them to be tracked everywhere they go.”

Free parking pass: Mayor Jason Perry

Those poor unfortunates who encountered the month-long trial run of Mayor Perry’s scheme on South End and Selsdon Road  complained that the system was anything but “simple”, or “streamlined”, but it is very “confusing”. In return for data-scraping every motorist’s personal details, the council allowed them one free 30-minute parking session every 24 hours.

Similar schemes have also been introduced in other car parks around the borough.

“I cannot now park in these car parks because I will not pay using my phone. I don’t want to have to register my car to use any on-street parking bay – whether it is free or not. It is a dreadful imposition,” one reader said.

The free half-hour parking is not the generous gesture that piss-poor Perry would have residents believe, either. The previous Labour council introduced one-hour free parking in many parts of the borough.

The proposed changes are “totally unacceptable on the main high streets, where the time limit is one hour and there is no charge to park”, according to another reader, a Conservative Party activist.

“Many often only park for less than 15 minutes, and we certainly do not need to be burdened with having to have a working mobile phone, switch this on, phone some number and register the car for such a short period of parking.

“The rule is no return for two hours – but I have heard that the council may make it a maximum of one stay for up to one hour per day – that is also unacceptable.

“There may be a small number of people who meter-feed, but anyone doing this frequently or for long periods is easy to catch and penalise. There is no reason to penalise the vast mass of the public for what is a very small issue – and one easily tackled as soon as it is known.”

Of course, for Croydon’s £84,000 per year Mayor, parking charges are something he hasn’t had to worry about for many years: he’s had a free parking pass ever since he was elected on to the council.

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10 Responses to Perry’s latest money-making wheeze? Big Brother parking

  1. Andrew Pelling says:

    No consultations in the Croydon East constituency.

  2. Moyagordon says:

    It might be okay. I use the Ring Go App for parking in our borough and once you’re signed up it’s very easy to use and convenient, it also allows you to extend your parking if you’re running late. I used to have to use the paying meters and they could be prone to faults and I wouldn’t be able to get a ticket, which was annoying.

  3. David Wickens says:

    My preference is where meters are retained that take card payments and indicate the use of Ringo or other on line payment as an alternative. I do carry some cash but rarely enough small change to cover parking costs.

    To have only one mode of payment is going to be problematic for any visitors, particularly foreign ones.

  4. Darryl Sugg says:

    Still I’m sure our local MP Chris Phelp will steam in and criticise this pointless change to parking regulations as a complete waste of time as the old system worked fine. . . Oh hang on it’s mayor piss-poor Perry’s idea so he’ll be only completely behind it.

  5. Diana Pinnell says:

    This will make five parking apps on my phone, with five passwords to remember.

    Past experience suggests they will not always work.

    The worst is the one at Purley hospital which wouldn’t even install on my phone so I have to book a parking space before driving to the hospital and invariably arrive earlier or later than I booked.

    I don’t mind giving reg no and paying by card, but I do object to needing so many apps.

  6. Nick Davies says:

    I wonder if the requirement to unload bits of plastic from your white van gets you a special ‘free parking’ pass from the Mayor’s Orifice (oops, Office)

  7. Ian Kierans says:

    Hold on
    The policy draft clearly states
    Customer focused in everything we do, Provide safe, accessible parking for all users
    Efficiently manage the parking service, Be transparent in how we approach parking.

    So if a vehicle user does not or cannot use a phone thay can’t park? So exactly how is an all phone service accessible to all users?
    Now whether residents like it or not – Parking services (enforcement) actually try to do a good conscientous job. Not nice being on the end of a ticket, But from personal experience it is even less nice being blocked from getting to hospital because someone decides their need to do some shopping over-rides your need to get some critical attantion and blocks thedisabled access. Or like the Foxtons Mini driver parks on your property blocking access to your home.
    So surely as a priority Mayor Perry can resource that team to have 24 hr coverage and a tow truck? Thereby ensuring not just targeted (minimal) enforcement but real consistant enforcement.
    Rather than talking firmly of an aspiration – How about actually looking at residents plans to improve parking and at the same times making it clearer where not to park more use of residents bays only where and when required and proper enforcement along with multi use bays to enabe dual usage at busy times for those visiting shops locally?
    Perhaps also stop overdeveloping areas and even removing residents space used for parking off street to build yet more small homes with more cars and even less spaces for them might help?

    I would think that rather than talk about aspirational policy as it it is already in place let alone having people think it is feasible – perhaps a reality check might be in order.

    As an example of reality in Croydon that this verbage –
    The full range of parking management approaches, are available to Croydon and it is fully accepted that what is appropriate in one area may not be appropriate in another.

    No shit! How does that work?
    Here is the reality we know and have experienced.
    Parking on the footpath is illegal – except at Broad Green – the London Road – if you are a council vehicle or providing a service to them, If you are a developer and made a mistake and forgot to pay to suspend bays. Hey no problem someone will come and suspend then and then enforcement will pop along and issue tickets to those already in the bays as the council’ also forgot to actually let people know those bays would be suspended – yep that,s a reality but I am sure Ms Cheesbrough and Townsend can clarify why that would be? Mr Isles can determine how the cuts put in affected where ”targeting” would take place. How the few are expected to navigate from Coulsdon to Thornton Heath 4 – 10 times at least on a shift to deal with vehicles blocking access and movement?
    The fraudulent misuse of Blue Badges could be costing local
    government (Transport for London and the boroughs) £5,000 – £10,000 a year per badge. In what reality would that be? So ok £27 a day every day. that is one busy badge. But the reality is it is not so much a cost as a loss of revenue. It does not cost the Council. The Council loses the revenues from parking fee’s.

    The real issues are on that when you are disabled and you find cars and vans in spaces for disabled that have no badge or have a badge and all the individuals in the car are fit healthy and doing quite strenous physical work. There are many. It is wrong but it does not creat a cost – it creates a loss of profit.

    Cashless parking phone apps are already used throughout the borough and are far more efficient, than physical pay and display machines.
    Yes they are when they work. Efficiency would be believable if all those trying to get the app and fail or in fact just all those excluded for whatever reason are taken into account and it’s reliability goes to Australia via the earths core. Anyone trying to speak to any department at fishers folly where calling is like calling a GP before ten am – you are number 79 in the queue – the person who is number 1 waited on average 3 minutes – so just four hours of waiting – only to find like the GP appoinments that ah sorry all the spaces have gone please try again tomorrow.
    No seriously When it works it’s great- but when it does not – it causes real damage.

    Anyone driving in central, north and east Croydon will see all that I am describing most hours of every day. As some wag said on another comment – if you believe that pile of garbage I have a bridge to sell!

  8. Mark Farrelly says:

    The survey is a farce – it asks your religion , if you are male or female (what about other genders that you can be in school?), and your ethnicity.

    Really Mr Perry, please explain how this will help you decide your method for charging ?

  9. Peter Gillman says:

    Just brilliant! At present we have free parking for up to an hour with no need to register when you do so. To be replaced with free parking for half an hour, provided (a) you have given the council your details (b) you register using an app (c) the app actually works.

    So often I have tried to park and found it difficult to work out which parking app you are supposed to use. Then you may have to log in using whichever password you try to remember. Sometimes in pouring rain!

    Yet another deterrent to shopping in the borough…..

  10. Tris says:

    If they want to raise some easy money they could try enforcing illegal parking on red routes, illegal parking where the car is completely on the pavement (which seems to be getting worse and worse) or illegal parking in bike lanes.

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