Two Banbury NCP controlled car parks have come under fire this week after a fine was issued for a taxi driver waiting for an elderly customer and another car park trapped customers inside for almost an hour.
Nick Turvey, an Oxfordshire County Council and specialised Social Service’s contracted taxi driver went to make a pick-up at the Calthorpe Street car park on May 12.
The pick-up was scheduled for 12.40pm with the taxi entering the car park at 12.31pm. After waiting for the customer and subsequently helping the customer with bags and wheelchair the taxi left the car park at 1.04pm.
Despite not exiting the taxi other than to assist the customer the driver was never-the-less fined £60 for failure to purchase a ticket.
NCP said in a statement: “NCP allows customers a 10 minute entry grace period where motorists are given time to decide to park or leave, without being issued a Parking Charge Notice (PCN).
“We have looked into the case you have highlighted and can confirm that we were correct to issue a PCN as the customer was parked in our car park for just over half an hour.”
As a contracted safeguarding driver who operates his service for wheelchair customers Mr Turvey has vowed not pick up from the site as setting up wheelchair ramps and then packing them up can take longer then 10 minutes.
NCP added: “We welcome taxis onto the site for pick and drop off but cannot accommodate a waiting taxi rank within the car park, so if they stay more than 10 minutes then they must pay for their parking session, like our other customers do.”
Meanwhile at Matalan up to 20 drivers say they were trapped after barriers failed to open.
NCP said in a statement: “NCP has looked in to this issue and can reassure you that the incident that occurred on Friday afternoon wasn’t as a result of a technical problem with the barrier.
“Instead it appears that there was a dispute over payment when a customer reached the exit point which meant that they weren’t able to leave until the issue of payment for their parking was resolved, and so the barrier didn’t go up.
“Whilst the dispute was happening our staff attendant, who was working on another of our car parks helping a customer, came to attend the situation.
“The phone number on the payment machine connects to our national customer contact centre and they were dealing with the case, and trying to help. In most cases they are able to do this, however on this occasion the situation was very unusual and so our full time staff member for Banbury arrived on site to help resolve the problem.”
The BG asked NCP to qualify how a payment issue at the barrier could occur and why that person did not simply get out of the way and let other people leave.
We have yet to hear from NCP regarding those follow up questions.