A stressed commuter unwittingly racked up hundreds of pounds worth of fines over the course of a month after paying online for daily parking at Arlesey Railway Station, only to mistakenly leave his vehicle in a car park close by... called “Arlesey Station”!
Russell Hornsby, of Lower Stondon, paid Indigo Parking for his stay at what he believed to be, Arlesey train station’s car park, when he began a new job in London recently.
He followed advice he found on Thameslink’s website to park at Arlesey Station Car Park. The website showed it was operated by Indigo Parking, so he downloaded the app and paid for a day ticket, parked at the station and went to work.
The next day he did the same thing and paid for a week ticket. He first parked at the station on Thursday, February 22, this continued for 25 days.
But on Monday, March 19, Russell was shocked to receive a parking charge notice from Britannia Parking which revealed he had been using a car park operated by them (called Arlesey Station), not the Indigo-run official station facility.
He said: “When I arrived the sign to the station said Arlesey Station car park, I did not read the parking signs as I had already paid.
“25 days after the first time I parked there I received a fine and I find out the car park is operated by a different company, Britannia Parking.
“Unfortunately, the time between February 22 and March 19 I have used the Britannia car park 15 times and therefore was expecting £1,500 in fines to come through my door over the next few weeks. Due to the nature of the automated camera system, the fines stopped at £800, £480 if I pay within 28 days.
“I appealed through Britannia Parking and was the told the signage was approved by Popla and it was my responsibility, they said I could appeal to Popla but if the appeal failed I would have to pay the full £800.
“When I complained to Thameslink they said the car park was not their part of the station, I would like Thameslink to take some responsibility of what has happened, I followed the information from their website to the car park and how to pay.
“They should take accountability for the car park if they are going to allow it to be called Arlesey Station car park. The car park should not be allowed to be called Arlesey Station car park as it is easy to get confused on the website about where to park and who to pay.
“I also think Britannia Parking should not be allowed to wait 25 days between the parking charge date and sending the fine out, if they had simply put a ticket on the car or notified me earlier I would not have had to pay the £480 or have all the stress. It is very frustrating, nobody is taking responsibility for this confusing situation.”
Govia Thameslink Railway run the Great Northern service from Arlesey train station, a spokesman for Great Northern said: “We cannot dictate what Britannia calls its car park. Our car park is right next to the station building and clearly signposted upon arrival: ‘Car park under bridge’.
“Britannia’s car park, which is a recent development, is further away, on the other side of the tracks from the station building and we do not signpost motorists to it.
“The Indigo website where your reader paid for his tickets has a large map on the Arlesey car park page which clicks through to a street view picture showing exactly where our car park can be found [picture].
“We also have a prominent sign at the entrance to our car park indicating that this is our car park, operated by Indigo.
“While we are happy to refund your reader for the days he was not using our car park, proof of which will be the penalty fares he has received for parking elsewhere, he should take up his issue with Britannia who has fined him.”
Britannia Parking operate the car park where Mr Hornsby parked his car sent him Parking Charge Notices because he had paid for parking on the Indigo Parking app, he had not made payment to them.
A spokesman for Britannia Parking said: “We have operated the car park at Arlesey for a number of years with thousands of customers using its 400 spaces.
“It is clear that the motorist in question has paid online for parking on another site and then used our car park, which is a very unusual occurrence.
“Both our signage and procedures meet the British Parking Association’s Code of Conduct, with the number of signs at Arlesey actually exceeding requirements.
“The signs clearly state who operates the car park and the payment options available. As with any car park anywhere else, customers who overstay, park without making sufficient payment or use an invalid ticket are at risk of receiving a Parking Charge Notice (PCN).
“As a member of the British Parking Association and the industry’s Approved Operators Scheme, we take our responsibilities very seriously and will monitor the situation in Arlesey going forward.”