Thursday, 22 January 2009

london parking ticket latency

I narrowly escaped a parking ticket today.

I was driving around Belgrave Square just before I needed to take a conference call, so I stopped in a parking bay. It was approaching the time for the call so I dialled the number before I walked to get the parking ticket from the machine.

It was a typical Westminster 'card only' machine and slightly around the corner from my parking spot. As I was also chairing the phone conference, I had my earphones for the call - we were in the 'pre-main-meeting-room' part of the call waiting for everyone to join.

From the corner of my eye I could see a community warden tapping numbers into his penalty machine whilst looking at my car.

My debit card was still in the ticket issuing machine processing my pin number. I jumped and waved to attract the warden's attention but to no avail. I returned to where he was standing just as he was printing the long penalty ticket, with my paid parking ticket in my hand.

And it was just as my conference call was starting. Fortunately, the meter person was very understanding and could see what had happened. I thanked him as he tapped long strings of cancellation instructions into his device.

After my experience a few weeks ago near Centre Point, I can say that surviving more than about 3 minutes in Central London without appropriate ticketing can be extremely hazardous to the wallet.

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