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Opinion : Are ‘virtual parking permits’ a good idea or is there something better?

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The topic of parking and the way it is managed affects almost everyone.

Did you see the article that appeared in the news section of this site yesterday entitled ‘Virtual permits to be introduced for on-street parking in Buckinghamshire‘?

Of course these ‘virtual permits’ are only going to affect those who live, or park, in an area that has been designated as a ‘Controlled Parking Zone’. Wycombe has one of these controlled parking zones which covers most of the roads in the town centre.

No doubt these new fangled ‘virtual permits’ are being introduced to save money. Indeed cutting costs seems to be all that modern life is centred around.

In the news article it mentioned that ‘…. people will no longer have to display a permit when parking a car in a permitted area anywhere in Buckinghamshire‘ and that ‘Enforcement officers will know instantly if a vehicle has an active permit via their hand held devices‘.

But that relies on the enforcement officers passing by to check the vehicles! Indeed once the virtual permits are introduced the ordinary public will have no idea if the car parked outside their house has a permit as nothing will be displayed on the vehicle.

Providing the enforcement officers do not come around then the rascals will be able to park for free in controlled parking zones and nobody will know they should not be there. Not even the residents who live and need to park there will know which vehicles are parked without a permit.

Virtual permits are all well and good but there needs to be a website where residents can search using the registration of a vehicle to check that it has a valid permit similar to the MOT Check website run by the DVLA.

Next thing we will be hearing that roadside parking in Buckinghamshire is losing money!

In my opinion it’s not virtual permits that Wycombe needs, no, we need the residents parking permit scheme extended to the whole town and not just the town centre.

Let’s see everyone from Loudwater to West Wycombe and from Totteridge to Booker have to pay to park in the road. Yes, everyone should need to get a permit if they are going to leave their car in the road outside their home rather than putting it in their driveway.

All too often the powers the be fail to ‘think big’ and the controlled parking zone and its residents roadside parking permits is a classic example.

If parking in Buckinghamshire is to pay its way then the whole town needs to be covered and not just a small area in the town centre.

Rather than paying for ‘enforcement officers’ to walk aimlessly around the town on the look out for illegally parked cars why not allow residents to report vehicles parked without a permit to a central office, or to a website, then the enforcement officers come out and give the offender a ticket?

To encourage residents to get involved there could be a small fee, say £5, payable to every member of the public who finds and reports a vehicle parked in contravention of the regulations. This way the time of the enforcement officers would be spent dishing out tickets and thus collecting fines rather than just walking around the streets like lemons.

Yours truly would certainly participate in such a scheme, indeed the income from identifying cars parked without permits would help to bolster my paltry income.

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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