"Its not only the fact that a car overstays its time at a meter, its
the fact that it probably is unregistered, has not paid its road taxes,
and doesn’t meet minimum safety standards. In my opinion that car
should be treated like any other piece of trash on the street– picked
up and disposed of."
Over cokes and chips in a pizza parlor near Baker Street Tube Station, a senior parking official in the UK was railing on the problems of enforcement.
He asked that he not be identified as his strong opinions might not be taken too kindly back at his office.
"There’s the story of the woman who drove a first class Range Rover. She though that the sun shined out of her ear (or some other orifice) and figured that she didn’t have to pay the tickets. She had about $5000 in tickets and with penalties and other fines she owed about $15,000. One day she parked her car on the street and left on a vacation.
"While she was gone the local police found the car, compared it with their records and towed and sold it. When she returned she found a check for $6000 in the mail and a note from the local city government. It informed her that they had picked up her $70,000 vehicle, sold it for $21,000, paid her fees and returned the difference to her."
Now that’s how everyone should be treated, he says. Get the trash off the street, collect the money. If a person doesn’t pay their registration fees or their parking tickets, they should pay the price. Unregistered, untaxed, or vehicles that have unpaid parking fines, are simply large metal boxes and should be treated like any other trash found on the street.
"We British are just too nice. Most see parking laws (and this includes many police) as suggestions, not legally binding. I know you have the problem with uncollected fines in the states — we have it here, too. My approach, the Range Rover approach, would go a long way to making that problem go away."
As we walked back to my digs, we passed a number of traffic wardens, sort of milling about, smoking and talking. "See they have no pride. You would never see a London policeman smoking in uniform. They should be out doing their jobs, not goofing off."
When we parted, he said he was going back to his office and become "nice" again.