Monday, 14 December 2009

Parking woes..

Some months ago I wrote this post commenting on how I thought it is nightmarish finding parking space in this city where I live. This morning, I didn't find a place to park the car in the council estate behind our office building, where I would normally park for free while at work. I had noticed that in recent weeks finding parking space in that estate had become even harder than before. Today someone explained to me that the construction work on the the East London Line extension, a new railway line that runs directly behind our building, means that several more people, namely, railway construction workers, are coming into the area each morning; and that most of these people are driving their cars to work. Ah, so that explains it..

Anyway, I got to work and there was nowhere to park, so I was forced to park on the street in front of our office building. I parked the car in what I thought was a parking bay, at the cost of £2 for each hour you remain parked there. I was careful to buy the ticket and display it on the dashboard, since the very first thing I was to do on arrival at my desk this morning was to grudgingly write a cheque for £60, payable to Parking Services, London Borough of Hackney, in respect of a parking penalty charge I'd received last week for parking in front of the building without displaying a ticket, much to my chagrin. £60 is a lot of money to just throw away..

At 10am, I went down to the parking meter and renewed my ticket. It was valid until about 11am and I displayed the ticket prominently on the dashboard as required. At noon, I repeated the exercise. By this time I had already spent £8 just for parking, and the day wasn't even halfway through yet! Then at 1pm I went down again, but this time, there was a penalty charge notice stuck under my windscreen wiper. Yes, another one!! I was livid! As careful as I had been and after spending all that money, here I was again being slapped with another penalty charge for another £60! It was lucky the parking attendant was nowhere in sight when I arrived at the scene, because I couldn't trust myself not to have smacked him in the mouth with my fist before he even had the chance to explain.

I carefully examined the penalty charge notice and it appears that although I had been buying parking tickets as I should have, the spot where I was parked was not a parking bay at all. I should not have parked there in the first place. I had spent all that cash this morning just for parking, and all I got in the end was a fine!! I was so miffed that although it was just past 1pm, I went back into the office, shut down my workstation and fled from the office in a fit of fury.

Tomorrow, I will abandon this car at home and travel to work peacefully (and cheaply) by bus. I take back everything I said when I had just got the car. I stated then that I'll be driving everywhere, but now I'm not so sure any more..

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