10 December 2017

Blunders abound

Although Mr Mustard is very busy working and really hasn't got the spare time for PCNs he can't leave wronged motorists without the necessary help.

A PCN was issued to a Scotsman for code 87: Parked in a designated disabled person's parking place without displaying a valid disabled person's badge in the prescribed manner. The photo above was taken by the traffic warden.

Although the clock is displayed and shows a time of about 11:05 it wasn't necessary to display it as blue badge holders park for fee all day in this car park. The gentleman in question had driven down from Scotland to visit his brother in Barnet General and then nipped up to the town centre where, after finding the PCN on his car, he was lucky to be spotted by a friend of Mr Mustard's on his way to band practice (he plays the tuba whereas traffic wardens just play the fiddle) who passed on the necessary mobile phone number.

The motorist has done nothing wrong, he has clearly displayed a valid blue badge the correct way up. Now he has to fight a PCN and make a charity donation for Mr Mustard's help so will be out of pocket even if the PCN gets cancelled the instant that Mr Mustard's complaint goes in.

Mr Mustard has seen more instances recently of complete lash ups by traffic wardens. Service really needs to improve as being wrongly threatened with a £110 penalty is not cricket. This is another example of an instance in which the motorist should automatically be compensated for the inconvenience.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

29 November 2017

Traffic wardens 67x/67y - proper novices

On 16 October in the Finchley Central CPZ Mr Mustard's client, let us call them Ms T, received a PCN at 10 in the morning on a single yellow line which starts at 2pm. Mr Mustard noticed that the traffic warden had a high badge number, 67x, where x is a number he is not going to tell you, and so Mr Mustard surmised that new traffic wardens were being sent out with inadequate training or supervision, or both. Mr Mustard lodged a complaint, the PCN was cancelled and the traffic warden given more 'guidance' whatever that is.

Roll forward to 23 November and the same thing happens again, a PCN given out by a different traffic warden 67y, where y is a number known only to Mr Mustard & his client, the same mistake at the same place by another newbie traffic warden who clearly needs the same guidance as the others.

Another complaint by Mr Mustard, another cancellation and a second letter of apology.

The additional training needs to be before the traffic wardens (CEO) are let loose on the street issuing real, painful, expensive PCNs.

There was of course no question but that the council would not pay compensation to Ms T. This is exactly the sort of case where compensation of a fixed sum, say 50% of the PCN value, should be paid as a matter of course.

Study your PCN very carefully if the issuing traffic warden has a badge number above 669.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

26 November 2017

Barnet Council blundering about in the dark

A traffic warden (CEO) has to have a good reason to believe that a contravention has occurred and unless it is blindingly obvious that a vehicle is miles from the kerb there should be clear photos with a measuring device to prove the 50cm has been exceeded. This is what the traffic warden has within his evidence, and with service of 5 years he should know better

When viewed on his laptop Mr Mustard thinks he can make a kerb out under the back of the car at an oblique angle and so on the traffic warden's own evidence there is no contravention.

This is what the scene was like the next day in daylight

A challenge was made by the motorist and rejected by the council. The council confuse themselves, this is the scene from further away, the location is Victoria Close EN4:

What the council fail to understand is that the entire curved edge of the 'turning circle' is 'the edge of the carriageway' and that as long as any part of the car is within 50cm of that, the front or rear bumper, or a mirror, then no contravention has occurred.

This is the only PCN issued at this location for this contravention in 3 years. It it going to be fought all the way to the tribunal.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

18 November 2017

Mind the gap

Torrington Park
A contractor working on behalf of the council has blocked the width restriction and left the only possible route as the bus gate. Mr V therefore drove through it and made representations against the inevitable PCN that there was a truck in the way which was broken down or was there for some other reason. Here is the council's response:

 What Mr Mustard expects is:

a. the video to be looked at more closely so that the council realise the van is almost certainly engaged in works at the location and a cancellation on the grounds of common sense
b. the workmen not to block the route unless it is necessary by reasons of safety
c. a road closure order to be in place to make the council's actions lawful
d. the council to make enquiries of its workers as to what they are messing about at and to instruct them not to obstruct the Queen's highway in the future nor to act in such a way as to make moving traffic contraventions more likely
e. diversion signs to be posted well in advance of the restriction.

Anyway, the vehicle owner appealed to the tribunal and the council cancelled the PCN as soon as they were notified of the hearing by the tribunal.

The council look to have behaved cynically in rejecting the prior representations.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

11 November 2017

Council errors are OK, apparently, yours are not.

The errors of new drivers are a useful revenue stream for Barnet Council.

They don't want it ruined by having to pay out compensation for the blunders of brand new traffic wardens.

If your PCN was issued by a traffic warden (CEO) with a number above 650, take a close look at it.

The council's attitude to error is morally dubious.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

29 October 2017

Are you illiterate? Barnet Council will employ you.

You are? well you can get yourself a job writing case summaries to send to the parking tribunal on behalf of Barnet Council as you will fit right in. All of the above errors came form one 3 page case summary.

The errors won't lead to the PVN (sic) being cancelled but there are some other procedural blunders in the case summary which will.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

This is what happens when you contract out services (although it is never clear in parking if an NSL or a direct employee has written a particular item) as the contractor saves money by employing cheaper people than the council did hitherto. Cheaper isn't usually better.

28 October 2017

Wrongful rejection by Barnet Council

all Barnet parking restrictions available here http://www.barnettraffweb.co.uk/main.html
Mr B received a PCN. Mr Mustard compared the local parking sign to the Traffic Management Order which sets the rules, which the sign must then follow, and identified a discrepancy i.e. they were for different times. He made an informal challenge in response to the PCN.

The council rejected them.

It seems that the writer did not go and look at what the rules where as otherwise he wouldn't have said that the hours were restricted at that time, as they weren't.

The writer didn't understand the point about London Councils either. Mr Mustard did not mention TPT (in front of which he occasionally also appears) so why the council did he isn't sure. In any event had the TPT made a decision on this point it wouldn't be irrelevant, it would not be a precedent either but it would be persuasive so should be considered carefully.

Once the Notice to Owner arrived the identical challenge was made. It doesn't matter that the council have already rejected it, the Owner has the right to make the same representations as the driver (who may be one and the same person) and it is in fact good practice to be consistent.

So there you have it, a reverse ferret, and clearly Mr Mustard was 100% correct at the earlier stage.

The worrying aspects about this case are:

  • the council don't appear to be considering informal challenges properly
  • an unrepresented Owner would assume the council are correct because surely they only write the truth and paid up at 50% (which is intended to reward motorists who make honest errors and pay up promptly but appears to Mr Mustard to be used more as an inducement to settle even when the motorist is correct) and payment kills the PCN so the council would have had unjust enrichment of £55
  • there is no sanction against the council for wrongly saying No at first and then Yes.
If you think you are correct, just keep fighting until all 3 stages of the process are complete. The worst that happens is that you end up paying 100% and learn something and on the other hand you have cost the council a tribunal fee of £30 which they don't see again.

Yours frugally
Mr Mustard