Concerns raised over Newry parking fine confusion

May 19, 2014

A woman who inadvertently displayed a ticket from an on-street parking ticket machine in her vehicle, which was parked in a Newry pay-and-display car park, claims she was issued a Penalty Charge Notice by a traffic warden after returning to her car some 7 minutes later.

The lady, who is from Castlewellan and unfamiliar with the location of parking ticket machines in Newry, took to Facebook last week to air her concerns about the incident which, she maintains, arose from a genuine mistake which was witnessed by the traffic warden who issued her fine.

After parking at Dunnes Stores car park in Monaghan Street last Wednesday, the woman purchased a ticket from a nearby on-street parking ticket machine, unaware that she needed to purchase her ticket from the machine inside Dunnes car park.

She alleges that, upon returning to her car just 7 minutes later, she discovered that she had been issued with a Penalty Charge Notice and that the traffic warden responsible for it approached her to advise that he had watched her mistakenly purchase the ticket from the on-street ticket machine.

The motorist questioned the actions of the warden who, she said, issued the fine regardless of the fact that he had witnessed her purchasing the incorrect ticket and failed to advise her of the correct procedure for the car park.  She also queried the timeframe for receiving the ticket as she believed there is a 15 minute limit after which a warden should issue a Penalty Charge Notice.

Her account prompted much comment and concern among members of the public with many claiming to have experienced similar issues whilst parking in Lisburn.  There was widespread condemnation of the failure of the warden to alert the woman to her mistake while others also maintained that the on-street ticket machines actually cost more than those within pay-and-display car parks therefore the woman most likely overpaid for her parking and should have escaped a fine, especially as her vehicle was only parked there for 7 minutes.

The Examiner contacted the Department of Regional Development Roads Service for clarification of the issues raised.  A DRD spokesperson advised that anyone is free to challenge a Penalty Charge Notice if they believe that it has been issued unfairly.

The spokesperson also provided information on the regulations for issuing Penalty Charge Notices, which stated:

“When parking in car parks or on streets which are charged then, to allow adequate time for drivers to purchase a pay and display ticket, Traffic Attendants (TA) will observe for 5 minutes before commencing enforcement.

“Additionally, whether parked on streets at limited waiting or charge parking; or in a charged car park, the vehicle will be granted a grace period of 10 minutes after the expiry times before TAs commence enforcement.”