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WHEN IS A PARKING OFFENCE


Parking offence contraventions are a cause of irritation and exasperation when operating a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle. It is often a fine balancing act as to what is permissable. Can I pick up a fare on a double yellow line? Can I drop off too? What about zig-zags, are the rules the same? The list goes on. But at what point do the scales tip from it being illegal, to being perfectly justifiable. Dave Lawrie of the NPHTA offers his guidance and outlines the legal status and some of the precedents set.


SO, WHEN IS A PARKING OFFENCE NOT A PARKING OFFENCE?


Simply put, when the offence does not actually exist other than in the eyes of a parking enforcement officer (traffic warden).


There are several parking offences that although are valid and exist in normal circumstances, there are exemptions for example, when picking up or dropping off passengers in a licensed hackney car- riage or private hire vehicle.


As we promised last month, we will expand on this with a little more detail now to make it crystal clear what the rules actually are, these rules have been tried and tested in courts of law.


JUDICIAL REVIEW


Makda versus the Parking Adjudicator really shouldn’t have gone as far as JR, but we are so glad it took place as it sets a legal prece- dent to highlight the regulations. Although it was regarding the of- fence of parking on double yellow lines, the same broad interpretations apply to parking offences where the offence is based on “no stopping at any time” such as bus stops, disabled bays, and some of the more confusing ones as quoted last month such as “stopping in a parking bay”.


Firstly the ruling sets out the difference between a PH and a HC vehicle in that “licenced minicab drivers, unlike those licensed to drive hackney carriages, may not tout for work but must pick up only pre-booked fares”. An interesting point to start with, since the ruling of stopping on a hackney carriage stand remains an instant ticket offence.


The case revolves around two bookings, where the private hire ve- hicle attended at the booked location, the clients did not show up, so the vehicle left. Both events were captured on CCTV which led to parking tickets being sent under the Traffic Management Act 2004, and the Traffic Management Order 2002 article 5 (1).


SO WHY IS IT NOT AN OFFENCE?


However, under article 12 of the Act it states: “Nothing in Article 5 of this Order shall render it unlawful to cause or permit a vehi- cle to wait in any restricted street for so long as may be necessary for the purpose of enabling any person to board or alight from the vehicle or to load thereon or unload therefrom his personal luggage.”


Roughly translated, letting people get in or out of your vehicle, and indeed waiting whilst they do.


50


The adjudicator seemed to acknowledge the exemptions are in place, as he states here:


“The appellant’s vehicle was waiting in a restricted street. This is unlawful unless some legal exemption applies, although there is an exemption allowing vehicles to wait whilst passengers board or alight from the vehicle.”


But he then misinterprets the exemption here:


“This does not extend to waiting for the passenger to arrive, in- convenient though this may be for chauffeurs and private hire drivers. The vehicle was therefore in contravention and it cannot be said that the PCN was issued other than lawfully.”


…when the exemption states “for so long as may be necessary for enabling any person to board or alight from the vehicle and to load thereon or unload therefrom his personal luggage.”


THE DECISION


The Judge in his finding ruled that Article 12 (the exemptions) whilst they did not allow for “parking” on double yellow lines, they did indeed allow for the time taken to identify the passenger and allow them to approach and get in, or indeed a “reasonable time” to reach the decision that the job was (in our terms) a no show - as stated in paragraph 25 where he says: “It is in my judgment neces- sary for the purpose of enabling that person to board the vehicle for the driver and passenger to make contact with each other; al- ternatively for the driver to conclude that the passenger is not there.”


TO CLARIFY


This is now set up a legal precedent and clarified the point that it is perfectly legal for both hackney carriages and private hire vehi- cles to pick-up or drop-off passengers in restricted areas.


ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF DEFEAT OF INCORRECT PARKING FINE


PHTM received an email recently from Mike Stokell, who owns a small taxi company in Felixstowe known locally as Coastal/Wizard Taxis. Mike has over 40 years’ experience as a taxi driver.


One of their drivers recently received a PCN for dropping a passen- ger and their luggage off in London. After allowing the driver to appeal the PCN (wrongly Mike then realised) and paying the fine (just in case) Mike took the time to find the responsible officer in Haringey and pointed out that Transport for London has clear guidelines on stopping at the kerbside – ANY kerbside, to allow passengers to board or alight from a vehicle: https://bit.ly/37M4TqS


Mike then also quoted the Makda case. Along with many councils, their own authority, East Suffolk, has taken over responsibility for parking enforcement. They immedi- ately attempted issuing tickets for picking up on double yellow lines, and informed Mike that as the restrictions outside their walk- in office were “no loading at any time”, they were told they were li- able to an instant fine if they did so. They have now set the council straight on that.


Mike told us: “I urge any driver to challenge a PCN using the same method. Not only did Haringey cancel the fine - they refunded my payment immediately.”


NOVEMBER 2020


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