Monday, 18 March 2013

A record week at PATAS

not many of these left
In the week which started on 4 March there were an amazing 118 Barnet appeals heard at PATAS by the independent adjudicators and 78 led to the parking tickets being cancelled. Another 5 were legally correct but the council were recommended to cancel or not collect them all the same. In a typical week NSL issue 3,000 parking &/or bus lane tickets on behalf of Barnet Council and the usual run rate of appeals to PATAS across London is 1 and a bit %. In this week the rate was more than 3%

Possible reasons are that people are getting fed up and are appealing more often, news is spreading about how to appeal or NSL are dishing out more unfair parking tickets than Barnet Council in-house staff used to do or because of the recession people fight rather than meekly pay up.

Let me give you a quick summary of the reasons why people lost their appeals:

- being in the loading bay - if the loading bay does not allow for 15 minutes free parking (a la N Finchley & Chipping Barnet) and you are not loading or unloading then stay out of loading bays. Drivers of HGVs will be grateful.
- dropped kerbs - do not make it hard for wheelchair users.
- being in the bus lane - at certain times they are for buses, stay out of them at those times
- parked on the pavement - stay off them
- incorrectly validated voucher - double check them
- used the pay-by-phone sign from across the road - don't!
- blue badge not on display - if you only ever use one vehicle why not permanently attach it to the windscreen?

These are all avoidable events. You need to park like you are paranoid because 50 traffic wardens truly are out to get you.

The parking tickets that were cancelled included a whole load where NSL / the Council simply didn't submit their evidence. Either because they knew they would lose so why spend the time or because they can't keep up which seems more likely. Once the Notice to Owner has arrived it doesn't cost you any extra to appeal to PATAS and it gives you another month or so to save up in to pay the ticket if you lose.

There was a case about not being within the bay markings. The guidance I have seen from London Councils is that a ticket should not be given for this contravention unless an entire wheel is outside the bay.

There was another case of pavement parking where the photos were so poor that you can't tell where the car is. If you get a ticket during the hours of darkness always check the photos on the council website.

An alleged case of a blue badge not being on display was not supported by a photograph and so the parking ticket was cancelled.

In another blue badge case the council's evidence was described as uncertain and so the PCN was cancelled. The moral of the story is that whereas the council will write to you in stiff terms that you are in the wrong once they get tested by an independent adjudicator they find the task rather tougher and occasionally get rebuked for misleading residents about parking law.

Some more photos were described as useless and thus the PCN was cancelled.

A parking ticket was given to a cancer patient who was parked on the footway. They had an emergency and needed to go for treatment. Although rejected by the council the independent adjudicator took a more sensible and sensitive decision and cancelled the parking ticket.

Someone parked across their own dropped kerb and got a ticket which they shouldn't have as they are only meant to be enforced upon demand and you don't ring the council to ticket your own car. Why are these tickets having to be appealed all the way to PATAS is what I don't get.

If someone else moves your car onto the pavement, maybe following an accident, then you are not liable and PATAS will cancel the ticket if they are convinced you are innocent (always tell the truth).

Keep those appeals flying in and it might make the council think about issuing fewer tickets.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

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