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‘We are a Small Island and Cannot DealWith ...’ from Page 31

Up pops aWestminster spokesman: “I don’t agree with the

judgement; we are going to carry on writing tickets.” The bor- ough knows that whatever else happens, most of the people that they ticket will not know about the judgment and will pay the fine. They also know that, under the system, adjudicator rulings alone cannot be used to force themto behave properly. The borough’s position is just plain stupid. Motorists are

now going to a real court to sue for repayment of penalties that should never have been issued.This could bemillions if the court decides to backdate the judgment to 1994. When the case is heard, the court will rule in favor of the

motorists, andWestminster will be screwed. However, instead of stopping and making sure things are right, the borough’s blatant disregard of the original ruling means that they will have to deal with more problems and pay out more money, and will have a more damaged reputation than if they behaved properly in the first place.They should perhaps consider the oldmaxim: “When you are in a hole, stop digging.” Westminster has also made the news in another way. They

are the first local authority in theUKtomake all their street park- ing cashless. They were the first place in the UK to introduce parking meters about 50 years ago, and they have just taken out the last cash-operatedmeter. Parkers inWestminster can nowpay by phone, credit card or

by buying a scratch card. This has prompted a big debate about the legality of the move, since it seems intrinsically sensible that we should be able to use a public facility such asmunicipal park-

ing with coins of the realm. However, I have read and re-read the law, and I think thatWestminster has got this right. Not sure that it’s good customer service, but I ampretty certain it’s legal.

And Finally, Parkex I am sure that JVH will write up Parkex, so I won’t bother,

but Iwill tell a story that John probablywants to forget.The plan was to promote ParkingWorld, PT’s sister magazine, and a few hundred copies of said magazine were due to be delivered for the show. I agreed to baby sit the stand on day one, and I duly arrived

to find one booth, four posters and no magazines. The shipper had screwed up, and the magazines were still in the air and due Thursday afternoon, the last day of the show. This potential disaster was saved more or less single-hand-

edly byMandy, the incredible one-woman marketing campaign. With littlemore than a piece of paper and a smile,Mandy signed up more people to the magazine in one day than most people would have got in a week. It was ifMandy generated some kind of magnetic field that

pulled people into the booth.Whatever you paid her, John, itwas- n’t enough.

Peter Guest is PT’s correspondent on all things European and Middle East. He can be reached at




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