Should Cities, Universities, or Hospitals use Public Funds to Join the IPI or NPA?


Should Cities, Universities, or Hospitals use Public Funds to Join the IPI or NPA?

I haven’t the slightest idea. However this seems to have become a substantial controversy in the UK.  They published a story about it in the local parking mag and when I was in the UK last week I talked about it to the fellow who wrote the story, Parking Review Editor Mark Moran and former British Parking Association Head Keith Branbury.

There is a group in the UK called NoToMob who believe that aggressively enforcing parking rules is contra to the good nature of English Life. They have had an ongoing campaign to disrupt ticket writing on the Sceptered Isle. The ride around on motorcycles wearing masks and generally make pests of themselves.  They look like this15737-m  :

Those masks rather look like the ‘Occupy’ folks here in the US but in the UK they are known as “Guy Fawkes” masks.  OK Fair Enough.

The MoToMob folks discovered that the BPA had a major training program for traffic wardens (who write tickets in the UK) and that cities who were members send their staffs to these training programs. End result — better enforcement, more money collected.

They also discovered that about 245 cities were members of the BPA and supported the organization through their dues.

Horror of horrors. Can’t have that. So they are lobbying the cities to drop the BPA. I guess they feel that if the cities don’t have good training program and networking in their parking organizations, they won’t write as many tickets. or something.

They are morally outraged that taxpayer money is supporting the BPA, some of whose members are actually private firms that enforce on and off street parking regulations.

If that’s not enough, the BPA sponsors a ‘Park Mark” program where parking garages, that join the program, are rated for safety, cleanliness, lighting, and the like. If they pass, they get a “Park Mark” and I suppose people would prefer to park there rather than a run of the mill garage down the street. There are 5000 garages in the UK with a “Park Mark”.

What a waste, says MoToMob. they are lobbying cities to opt out of the program, as well as dumping the BPA altogether.

The BPA counters that they are a professional organization that provides support to parking groups across the country and frankly, they don’t think that MoToMob is much of a threat. The problem is that the decision in the end lies with politicians and noone lost an election when they were against parking tickets. The jury is still out.

This is a lesson for our organizations and parking departments as well. People don’t think that parking should be paid. It should be free, and there should always be a space 10 feet from where I’m going. So when you do anything to change those notions, you become the enemy. It takes patience, PR, understanding, and a lot of discussions to make this issue go away, and sometimes it never will.

My experience has been that its not the parking fee, its the ticket that has been written in error that causes all the pain. Rules are so set in stone that line staff members can’t make quick and reasonable decisions. Reversing a poorly written ticket takes an act of congress and then the problems escalate to the front page or the nightly news. We all look like ninnies.

Keith tells me that is seldom a week that goes by that there isn’t an article in one of the national newspapers in the UK about a pensioner being gives a ticket when he was sitting in his car, or an ambulance, or a priest while giving last rites.

We do bring this on ourselves.




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John Van Horn

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