Parking

It’s no secret that parking is many motorists’ Achilles’ heel. We recently reported that the average UK driver can spend as many as 91 hours a year looking for a parking space in our congested towns and cities.
Add to this the sky-high costs to park in most places, and you’ve got a real problem.
With many towns and cities having little room for new spaces, and because parking can generate so much money, things are unlikely to change anytime soon.
Back in 2015, The Independent reported that councils made over £700 Million in parking tickets and fines in one year alone – and this is of course on top of actual parking charges. The precarious finances of most councils mean it’s extremely likely we’ll ever see them reduce prices. With that in mind, this guide is intended to help you minimise the cost of parking.

Finding out where you can park

First off, you will (in some places) find areas with no lines and no signs and these (often hard to find) areas are safe to park in at any time. Just make sure you don’t park across a driveway or entrance or block anyone else’s access.

There are then areas such as parking bays, often marked with a dashed white line on the road and usually accompanied by a sign to inform you of time limits. These areas can be free of charge, for short periods, such as 20 minutes or one hour, and in these cases there will usually be a restriction on returning to the space within an hour or two.

These areas may also require you to buy and display a ticket. If so there will be a machine close by and the sign will state any restrictions. Make sure you park within the bays and display the ticket clearly.

Parking Restrictions

Red Route

Double red lines

You will see double red lines mainly in large cities replacing double yellow lines on certain routes. They are usually in places where it would be hazardous to stop. They mean no stopping at any time, not even to drop off or pick up passengers.

Double Yellow Lines

Double yellow lines

Double yellow lines on the road mean that you cannot park in that area at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There may be a sign accompanying the lines stating ‘at any time.’ However, this hasn’t been a legal requirement for many years now, so you should assume, sign or no sign, that you cannot ever park on double yellow lines. Unlike on double red lines, loading may be permitted on some double yellow lines.

Single Yellow Lines

Single yellow lines

Single yellow lines also represent restricted parking areas, but for only certain times of the day. There should be a sign accompanying the lined area stating the specific restricted period. This is commonly during peak hours, so parking in the evening or the weekend may be allowed. There may other exceptions in place, such as for blue badge holders and for loading only.

Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ)

These are areas where Traffic Regulation Orders (Traffic Management Orders in London) restrict parking in certain areas with restrictions specified by signs placed on all vehicular entry. There can be exceptions for designated parking bays or other signed areas. If single yellow lines are in these areas, then the restrictions will usually apply during the same times as within the zone, unless an accompanying sign shows different times.

Loading

Loading and unloading of heavy goods for both commercial and non-commercial vehicles are usually allowed on a yellow line as long as the vehicle is parked safely and is moved to a permitted parking space once the loading is completed.

There are sometimes restrictions for loading which are often marked by yellow lines on the curb. There will usually be a sign to show whether the rule is no loading at any time or whether loading is permitted during certain hours. When loading restrictions are in place, blue badge holders are not permitted to park.

Residential parking

In some residential areas, you will require a residential parking permit. You can obtain a residential parking permit from the local council.

Only residents of the local area will be able to obtain a residential parking permit and it will only be valid for a specific area. If you do not hold a permit and you park in a residential restricted zone then you will be liable for a fine.

If you do hold a residential permit, then you can also apply for a visitor parking permit which will allow any guests you may have to park safely.

Disabled parking

If you are disabled and hold a disabled parking permit then you are eligible to park in any bays or streets where it specifies disabled parking.

If, however, you do not hold a disabled parking permit you are liable for a fine. If you feel you may be eligible for a disabled parking permit, which is also known as a blue badge, then you should visit the direct.gov website where you can apply for a disabled badge.

Using Parking Apps

As mentioned before, parking is notoriously expensive and it can often be a headache trying to find a space. There may be cheaper spots available in the area you’re visiting, but unless you’ve visited several times before, you’re unlikely to know about them. However, we’ve found an excellent free app that will make the whole process of finding a parking place much less of a bother. It’s called Appyparking, and will help you find the nearest and cheapest parking space available.

It will let you know where the free to park spots are, and whether there are any restrictions. If free parking is not an option, then car parks and meter bays are shown, allowing you to make an informed decision.

This is an impressive app, but it’s only available for the following places at the time of writing: London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Coventry, Norwich, Reading and Cambridge.

Ringo is another useful service, which allows you to pay for conventional car parks via your phone with your credit and debit card rather than queuing to buy a ticket.

Renting out your driveway

JustPark, park on my Drive and Parklet are all services that allow owners of parking spaces to list them at prices that are often much cheaper than conventional pay and display options. You can reserve a place in advance, or on the go. These spaces can include slots in conventional car parks or spaces on individual driveways.

You pay via the app, so once you’ve paid, you literally just turn up, park your car, and then enjoy the rest of your day. These apps can really show their worth when trying to find a space before a football game or a holiday for example. They are certainly much cheaper and more flexible than the traditional options.

Of course, if you have a spare parking space yourself then you can easily rent it out to motorists thanks to the services provided by JustPark and Park on My Drive, no matter whether it’s a space on your drive, in a private car park, or in a secure compound.

The location of your parking space will determine its worth to potential users; with city centres, tourist locations, train stations and airports being among premium spots.

You can read a detailed case study on JustPark here. We are also delighted to be able to share some discount codes for using JustPark, exclusive to PetrolPrices.com:

Use PETROLPRICES10 for a 10% discount (Valid for new customers only).
Use PETROLPRICES5 for a 5% discount (Valid for existing customers).

 

Just Park logo

Dealing with parking fines

If you park in a restricted area then you are more than likely to receive a parking fine or worse still, have your vehicle towed away. Parking fines can vary but usually start at about £30 or £40. You have to pay a fine within a certain time frame and if you exceed this then the parking fine is likely to increase. Non payment of parking fines can result in you eventually being summoned to court, so it is worth paying up as quickly as possible. There should be instructions on how to pay on the ticket itself, but if you are unsure then contact the issuer. If you do not escape only with a ticket and your car is towed then you will receive more of a hefty bill, usually over £100, and will have to go to the car pound to pay up and retrieve your vehicle.

Reasonable grounds for appealing parking fines

Before appealing any parking fine you should make sure you have grounds for your case. If you do decide to appeal because you believe that you should not pay the fine, you should be aware that if you pay your fine within 14 days the price of the fine is halved. However, if you appeal this is likely to take over 14 days, so you must be sure before you appeal or it could cost you money.

You were not the owner of the car

If you were not the owner of the car or if someone else was driving your car you will be able to appeal against the parking fine. However, you will need to provide all of the contact details for the new owner or the person that was driving your car. If your car was stolen you will need to provide a crime reference number when you appeal.

The signs were not visibly clear

If the signs we not visibly clear or something was covering the signs then you may have a case for an appeal. By law and for any fine to stand the council must provide signs on each road in areas where parking is restricted. However, the council do not need to put up multiple signs along the road – it is up to you to check for a sign or keep an eye out when you enter a road.

If the parking is restricted on a single road, the council have to put up signs on every lamppost or if the lamposts are more the 60m apart they have to put in a signpost. If it is found that there were clear visible signs and your appeal is not genuine, then you will have probably gone over the 14 day period and will need to pay 50% more. So, before you lodge an appeal, you should go back and check the road where you parked if possible.

The lines were broken or there was not a T at the end

The council have to maintain road markings and make sure all road markings are put on the road correctly. If at the end of double and single yellow lines they are not cut off with a T-Bar then you have a reason for an appeal. The same can apply if there are any breaks in the line markings.

Car Park image

 

You are a car hire company and were not driving the car

If you are a car hire company and one of your rented cars has received a parking ticket then the parking ticket will come to your office. It is then up to you to provide the details of the person who was driving (had possession of the car) at that time.

You were unloading or loading your car on a single yellow line

If you were unloading or loading your car on a double yellow line then you will still have to pay the fine since you are not allowed to stop on these at any point unless otherwise stated. If however you are loading or unloading your car on a single yellow line you are able to do so for up to 20 minutes unless otherwise stated. If you are parking in a private car park like a supermarket car park then they will not be regulated by the law but

If however you are loading or unloading your car on a single yellow line you are able to do so for up to 20 minutes unless otherwise stated. If you are parking in a private car park like a supermarket car park then they will not be regulated by the law. Instead, upon entering their car park you agree to a contract between you and the owner of the car park. The rules for private car parks depend on the owner.

Information left off the ticket

If the ticket you received has information missing then you could be eligible to have the ticket marked void. If your ticket is missing any of the following, then you may be eligible:

  • The amount you have to pay
  • A statement indicating that if the fine is paid within 14 days you will get a discount of a specified amount
  • An address or contact number of where you should pay the fine
  • The reason why you got the ticket in the first place
  • A notice specifying how long you have to pay the fine (usually 28 days)

They took too long to send confirmation of the ticket

If you do not pay your fine within 14 days then a notice should be sent to the owner, if the notice does not arrive within 6 months then you will have a reasonable case for an appeal.

What to do next

If you believe that you have been given a ticket or been towed unfairly, then you can lodge an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. For more information or to appeal online see the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website.