Private parking tickets are approaching record levels
Nearly two million parking tickets were issued to drivers between April and June this year by private parking companies, the number of which has increased by almost two-thirds over the past five years.
RAC Foundation analysis found that 159 companies obtained records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to prosecute car owners for alleged offenses in private car parks during this period. This represents a 64% increase from 97 during the same period in 2016.
Government statistics show 1.95 million tickets have been issued in relation to sites such as shopping centres, leisure facilities and motorway service areas – if that rate continues for the rest of the financial year, the total would reach the all-time high of 8.4 million set in 2019/20.
Tickets can cost drivers up to £100.
The implementation of a government-sanctioned code of practice, a one-call service and a system of charges and sanctions more in line with those imposed by councils awaits ministerial approval.
Philip Boynes, chief executive of Britain’s largest parking company, PrivateEye, told MPs on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee last week that the “average profit of a parking operator is about 2.1%”.
But RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said the DVLA figures “cast doubt on the industry view shared with the committee that margins are hanging by a hair’s breadth”.
He continued: “If that’s the case then how come more and more people seem to be joining the industry which is already on track this year to issue a near record level of parking fee claims. ?
“It is inconceivable that more than eight million drivers leave each year consciously deciding to flout parking rules and risk ending up with a parking fee.
“These figures, which have grown by leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, suggest that we have a system that is not working – not for motorists receiving fee applications or for private landowners either.
“This needs to change, starting with the establishment of a single set of clear rules and an independent call service, so motorists know exactly where they stand and any acute operator practices are quickly identified. and eliminated.”
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