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Disabled parking at Bath RUH branded as ‘beyond a joke’

A MELKSHAM couple have been fined numerous times by ParkingEye, who operate the car parks at Bath’s Royal United Hospital (RUH), due to a confusion over the registration of their disabled badges.

Despite registering their disabled badges with the hospital, a Melksham couple – who are both disabled and take regular trips to Bath’s RUH, have received more than five parking fines.

There was initial confusion over registration due to both having to register their badges to the same car and also to their daughter’s car, which may also be used, depending on appointments.

This led to a delay of information from the hospital to the car parking operatives, ParkingEye, ending in the couple receiving a fine for failing to register their blue badge. After the couple queried the fine, showing evidence of a disabled badge, the fine was squashed and their badge was registered again.

However, fines continued to be sent. With persistent phone calls to ParkingEye and the hospital, it has led the couple to question the system.

The couple said, “It’s beyond a joke. Parking your car is not something you want to have to think about when going to the hospital. You’re going there because someone is ill, or in our case, has cancer. You’re not wanting to worry about whether you’ve registered your blue badge or whether it is clearly visible.

“It’s just not on. They’re just all about getting our money. There are more important things to worry about when you’re at a hospital.

“We haven’t had this kind of trouble anywhere else, not even Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Our badge seems to register fine there.”

Each time the couple have complained, they have received the same response from the RUH and ParkingEye, suggesting they ‘will look into’ their claim. The couple’s daughter has also rang to complain on behalf of her parents. Due to their constant complaints, all charges have been squashed.

A spokesperson for ParkingEye said, “Parking charges were issued in February 2017 because the Trust did not add the driver’s Blue Badge details to the system until after parking charges had been issued to the driver. Once the Blue Badge details had been added to the system, ParkingEye cancelled the charges and sent cancellation letters to the driver.”

However, the couple are not placated, and say, “ParkingEye are not doing the right job. There needs to be more communication between them and the hospital. They’ve got cameras everywhere and too many rules. You have to have your badge showing at all times, even when exiting the car park when most people will remove it before they start driving. I do, because I can’t drive with the reflection – but then the camera will show you haven’t displayed your blue badge. It’s a joke.

“We both have had to go through the trauma of cancer, we don’t need all of this to deal with as well.”

The couple now have confirmation from the hospital that both drivers are registered as disabled and they have asked Bath RUH to provide them with written evidence, in case they are fined again. ParkingEye has also confirmed that their badge is registered until 2020.

ParkingEye is a national company that uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems in car parks across the UK. The car parking system was introduced at the RUH in 2016.  Throughout 2017, Melksham News has reported on readers’ complaints of fines and difficulties experienced when using the RUH car park, over 70 of which were received in the first quarter of last year.

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