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PARKING at Bath’s Royal United Hospital has come under fire again after a 93-year-old Melksham man was issued with a parking charge notice despite paying for a ticket.
It is the latest in a long line of complaints since the management of the RUH car park was taken over by ParkingEye.
Ron Francis, 93, is warning other users of the hospital to remain vigilant of the parking scheme and to always retain their parking ticket as proof of payment after being issued with a fine.
His complaints echo others shared with the Melksham News about the parking system at the RUH.
Speaking to Melksham News Ron said, “We travelled to Bath’s RUH on Monday 23rd September where we parked in their car park. Although I have a blue badge, registered with my wife’s car, we decided to buy a ticket because we have had problems with using the blue badge in the past.
“Two days later we received a demand asking for us to pay £40 if we paid within two weeks, or £80 there afterwards. But we have proof to say that we paid £4 for parking!
“We have had so many problems parking at the RUH dating back to 2016 that we haven’t had the energy or the patience to carry on trying to register our blue badge, so we have opted to pay, but still the system isn’t working.”
Ron is in the process of appealing the charge, however he is struggling due to not being online. He has tried to ring ParkingEye, however is met with an automated system that isn’t recognising his reference number. He has now resorted to posting his notice and evidence of his parking ticket to ParkingEye’s head office in the hope that they will reverse the fine.
“It’s all a bit of a muddle really,” added Ron. “I’ve not got the internet and the telephone number keeps repeating that I need to enter my reference number, I do so and it tells me that the number isn’t recognised and then sends me back to the beginning again. I don’t know what else to do! I just hope people read this and are aware of the issues that RUH has with their parking.”
In response, a ParkingEye spokesperson said, “As a member of the British Parking Association (BPA), every motorist has the opportunity to lodge a formal appeal with us using our BPA audited appeals process. The motorist has not yet appealed to us.
“Blue badge holders are entitled to free parking at this site. In order to obtain this they must provide their valid blue badge and full vehicle registration details to main reception at the hospital or by calling 01225 824100.”
Melksham News then put more questions to the parking company, questioning the method of registering blue badges, what to do if the main reception is closed and where money from the fines go.
ParkingEye said that the A&E area of the hospital is open late, so patients should register their blue badges there if no member of staff is available at the main reception. However, visitors to A&E during evenings and weekends have reported that there has not been a facility to register their blue badge when the office in the hospital’s main entrance is closed.
ParkingEye say that motorists can also use phones in P4 and the main reception to call through to a number to get free parking for that day without showing their badge.
They defended the way that the blue badge system operates by saying it is due to abuse of the blue badge system that the holder must show their badge in order to register, compared to just placing the badge on the car’s dashboard, which is the system in most car parks.
Complaints received by Melksham News about the parking at RUH include people being fined despite paying the correct amount for parking; that they were being fined despite registering their blue badge; that the pay machine did not charge them the correct amount; that the signage is poor; that they typed their registration in wrong but didn’t know; and it wasn’t clear how to use the system.