The talk of the town today has been the slapping of a parking ticket on a bus. This happened yesterday. The bus was a scheduled Arriva service parking outside the Ludlow Assembly Rooms on Mill Street. It is a parking bay dedicated to local buses.
But this seems to matter not one jot to Shropshire Council’s civil enforcement officers. One in four of their yellow tickets are cancelled. But they remain slap happy.
I have received a long stream of complaints on penalty charge notices being slapped on cars and vans. I have no sympathy whatsoever with people who park in disabled spaces or block access. I get furious about vehicles that park on pavements blocking access – though Shropshire Council does not enforce that. It’s down to the police.
But when the council slaps a yellow ticket on a bus dropping off and waiting for its passengers, it’s the absolute pits.
I have received complaints all day. I do not know how many tickets have been issued. I am sure they will be challenged. I will back complaints by any bus company that has received a ticket.
Parking enforcement within Shropshire Council is out of control. For very ticket stuck on a vehicle, the council loses £10. A lot of that is because the council issues tickets inappropriately. It also loses money because parking enforcement has become an operation obsessed with ticketing. It is not integrated with transport strategy. It pays no regard for economy of rural market towns like Ludlow.
Shropshire Council has so many civil enforcement officers on the street. They need to find things to do. The scale of the council operation is bigger than the problem the council is trying to deal with.
Buses are vital to the social welfare and the visitor economy of Ludlow. We should not penalise businesses conducting a public service.
I have asked council officers to explain what has happened on this occasion. When I get a response, I will publish it.
(Update. Council officers have failed to respond to my emails. I will be raising the issue at the next council meeting.)
But this points up a bigger issue. Parking enforcement in Shropshire is out of control. It doesn’t work efficiently. It loses money. It damages the economy of small towns like ours.