Nexus Vehicle Rental has thrown its support behind a private members’ bill, which seeks to protect drivers from unscrupulous private car parking companies. It will have its second reading in Parliament on February 2.
Proposed by Sir Greg Knight MP, if enshrined in law the new rules will see a strict new code of practice for the sector developed by the Government in partnership with motorists’ groups and other experts.
Anyone breaking them would be blocked from accessing vehicle keeper data from DVLA and issuing fines - effectively forcing them out of business. This will end parking firms’ self-regulation.
Nexus’ backing for The Parking (Code of Practice) Bill 2017-2019 comes after its own data revealed almost a three times increase in the number of business drivers facing penalties, 95% of which it estimates are from private parking firms.
In 2012, 1.4% of all Nexus’ daily business car rentals incurred parking penalty charges, which rose dramatically to 2.6% of all bookings in the first eight months of 2017 alone.
Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 people approached the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice about private parking tickets in 2016/17, as parking firms fired out 13 times more tickets than a decade ago.
Research by the RAC suggests that in the 2017/18 financial year, six million tickets are likely to be issued by companies operating on private land - up from 4.7 million in 2017.
Despite parking firms being able to issue fines there, no code of practice exists to regulate this part of the industry, which levies charges as high as £100 in some cases.
The bill aims to make private parking companies more accountable, as well as demanding a fairer appeals process for drivers. This includes calling for an end to the unfair and sometimes illegal practice of private parking firms issuing automatic fines, sometimes even via CCTV - a practice known as 'ghost-ticketing’. This will rarely take into account factors such as unclear signage or faulty parking meters.
In response to the current unsatisfactory situation, Nexus created its ‘Glovebox Guide to Parking Penalties’ – a step-by-step guide that can be printed and kept in a rental car, should business drivers need to challenge penalties from rogue operators.
David Brennan, CEO at Nexus Vehicle Rental, said: “As a major mobility provider for UK businesses, we’ve experienced first-hand the unfair and sometimes unavoidable fines issued by private operators who, according to recent reports, are now handing out charges UK-wide every seven seconds.
“As well as backing the Bill, we urge motorists to be vigilant when faced with private parking charges. We hope our guide will directly support those businesses facing unfair penalties.”