Fleet operators saved an estimated £3 million in the first six months of 2012 by challenging parking fines in London, according to a Freight Transport Association (FTA) survey.
The research also found that companies are being hit with a growing number of fines. There was a 50% rise between June 2009 and June 2012 for Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued in London.
Nationally, Lex Autolease has seen a 44% rise for the period January 2011 to January 2013.
Ian Thomson, head of fleet operations at Lex Autolease, says: “It can be, in part, attributed to the increased use of surveillance technology in the private sector, including timed entry and exit and vehicle image capture, and the hardened attitudes of out-of-town shopping centres in enforcing action against vehicles that overstay ‘free parking’ arrangements.”
Thomson adds that local authorities have also stepped up their efforts to enforce parking restrictions “in what some would argue is a bid to subsidise revenues”.
The main reason tickets were issued to FTA members last year was because the driver was parked or loading/unloading in a restricted street where waiting and loading/unloading restrictions were in force.
The FTA suggests that for fleets doing deliveries in London, finding somewhere to unload without attracting a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is a “real problem”.
Geoff Wright, fleet services manager at Celesio Group (parent company of AAH and Lloyds Pharmacy), says: “Streets that were built in Victorian times were not designed for multi-drop deliveries five-and-a-half times a week.
“If there’s no loading area for a high street shop, how is it supposed to get its goods delivered?”
Transport managers at each of Celesio’s 18 depots challenge parking fines and, in the main, are successful.
“We explain that it was a pharmaceutical delivery and that it would be unsafe for the driver to park far away and walk up the road with a container full of product,” Wright says.
“We provide proof of delivery and explain that we only allow seven minutes per delivery with our scheduling software.
“Generally the fine is quashed but some councils say ‘it’s not acceptable, the driver didn’t need to park there’.
“Different councils have different interpretations. It’s not black and white.”
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