Thursday, February 24, 2011

People of Brighton & Hove, have £35 on me!

I'm sure the blogosphere is thick with people complaining about parking fines, and because I'm a fan of fairness I thought I'd tilt the balance a little. The tone of this post may come across as a little sarcastic, and if you view in that way, well that's up to you.

Last weekend my wife and I had a delightful stay with a friend who lives on the seafront in Hove (I only point out that it was Hove because people living in Hove don't like being accused of living in Brighton).  Not being the sorts of folk who can afford chauffeurs we took our aging automobile with us, or rather it took us (I guess), and that of course meant that we needed somewhere to leave the vehicle while we were indoors drinking fine wine and discussing the proletariat.

"Not a problem' my friend piped up when my wife and I raised the issue, "Here, have a parking permit!"  He said, "How marvellous!" we replied.

 We placed one of Brighton and Hove City Council's scratch and sniff parking permits in our car window and thought no more of it, and it was the thinking no more of it that was our downfall.

One long conversation on political theory led to another, and wine led to port (which in turn led to whiskey) and I  just plum forgot to get up early enough the following morning to pop a fresh new scratch and sniff parking permit in our car.  So I got a parking fine...

BUT! And it's a very big butt, I really do believe that the fine was justified (because it was my fault I didn't get up early enough to put a new permit in my car), and if it wasn't for Brighton & Hove City Council traffic wardens working on Sundays then my friend would never be able to park within ten miles of his home at least one day out of seven!  The fine was a quite reasonable £35 if we pony up the dough forthwith, and a rather steeper £70 if we were to drag our Cubans.

Now this is where it gets cool...
When I got home I logged onto the Brighton and Hove City Council website and was taken to a parking ticket punishment do-dad powered by http://yoopark.com/  Obviously paying parking fines is never a ton of fun, but speaking as someone who spends half his life assessing online systems I have to say the Brighton and Hove City Council/ YooPark system was great!  In IT terms it is gloriously 'joined up', and what impressed me more than anything was the amount of photos of ones misdemeanour that are on offer!  I wasn't going to contest this ticket because I know it's my own fault I forgot the extra permit, but even if someone did want to quibble there's really no point.  Thank goodness a city council has given thought to improving the clarity in the way parking fines are administered.  Instead of grumbling as I reached for my wallet (well my wife's wallet if you must know) I was horribly amused by the whole process; it's like being your own voyeur!

Seeing as I guess I've now paid for these photos of my (rather filthy) car I thought I might as well get my money's worth and share them with you for your entertainment:













So there you have it, people of Brighton and Hove, you're welcome to my £35, and I hope you spend it on something nice like libraries.  I dearly love Brighton, and it's nice to contribute to the upkeep of the place.