Taxi driver issued with £100 parking fine while helping disabled passengers in Morecambe
A Morecambe taxi driver who pulled into the town's Pleasureland car park for only 11 minutes to pick up a disabled fare is fuming after being hit with a £100 fine.
Andrew Smith, who works for Coastal Taxis Ltd, arrived outside the premier family entertainment arcade to find six people waiting, plus two disabled passengers with a wheelchair and a mobility scooter.
The 63-year-old has a specially-adapted cab to allow wheelchair access and it took him a few minutes to unload the platform ramp and call for another taxi as all passengers could not fit into his vehicle. All in all, he claims he was parked at the car park for only 11 minutes. During this time, the number plate of his taxi was captured on the car park's CCTV run by Parkingeye - a car park management company.
The incident happened in October last year and Andrew, who has been a taxi driver in Morecambe for the past 16 years, was shocked when a few days later he received a parking charge notice. He has since appealed the fine, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, there's been a delay in him receving a response.
He explained: "I drive a specially-adapted taxi and Coastal Taxis Ltd sent me to a wheelchair job to pick up behind Pleasureland. When I arrived there, I found six people and two disabled carriages. I told them that unfortunately I cannot accommodate both the wheelchair and mobility scooter and will have to ring back to the office and request another taxi. During this time, I unloaded the wheelchair ramp and carefully helped the vulnerable passengers into my taxi, as well as securing the wheelchair. This took approximately 11 minutes and I couldn't believe it when a few days later I received a fine for £100. I was absolutely outraged and it's terrible that firms are allowed to do this! £100 is a lot of money and it was a very threatening letter. The taxi business has suffered a lot during the pandemic and initialy when I returned to work after the lockdown, my hours had to be reduced. This fine has really stressed me out."
Andrew added: "I appealed to POPLA - an independent appeals service for Parking Charge Notices issued on private land. I had to wait months before finding out my appeal was unsuccessful, with my job sheet and my event of what I was doing there. I did not use car park for my personal purposes and didn't see any warning signs. I was just doing my job and picking up vulnerable people. It's a disgrace."
Responding, a spokesman for Parkingeye said: "The motorist used the car park without paying and as a consequence he was sent a parking charge notice. All motorists are entitled to appeal via POPLA, the independent body which reviews all cases.
"The car park has 19 prominent signs throughout clearly stating that motorists need to pay for parking, as well as information on all payment methods.
"We encourage all motorists to use the parking facilities responsibly and to read the signs before deciding if they wish to park."