Opinion: The days of parking kindness could be over

The rise in the number of car parks requiring a registration number before parking spells the end for a common British random act of kindness.

Pay and display parking sign

Nobody likes paying for parking. Discovering somewhere to park for free is one of life’s little pleasures, like finding an old fiver in your jeans pocket or when your mate finally decides it’s his round.

I rarely pay for parking in my local towns: I know where I can park for nothing, in bays that will give me enough time to have a haircut, consume a couple of overpriced coffees or browse the charity shops for second-hand car books. What else is there to do in town?

However, last Friday, when the weather was particularly British, I decided to park in the centre of town. Having dusted the cobwebs off my wallet, I found £2 for a two-hour stay – who said the days of highway robbery were over – and wandered over to the pay and display machine.

Before purchasing the ticket, I was told to enter my registration number, which proved to be rather tricky, as the keypad was at a height designed for Lilliputians. I headed back to the car in need of a physio and contemplating the beginning of the end for a common random act of kindness.

Put up a parking lot

Pay and display sign

Most of us have returned to a car to find unspent time on a ticket. With an hour or two left, not only does passing the ticket to somebody else feel like a nice thing to do, it also feels like the right thing to do.

Sure, the ticket says ‘non transferable’, but who’s to know? Saving a fellow motorist a few quid is a good deed for the day and, admittedly, an opportunity to get one over on the establishment.

But those days are drawing to a close. The rise of number plate-controlled pay and display machines and the ‘pay by mobile’ car parks will bring an end to this opportunity to deliver a gesture of goodwill. It’s the end of an era. Soon, letting people out of junctions and allowing room for cyclists and motorcyclists will be all we have left to share the love on the road.

No big deal in the great scheme of things, but I for one will miss the rare example of motoring fellowship.

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Gavin Braithwaite-Smithhttp://www.petrolblog.com
Writer with a penchant for #FrenchTat. Also doing a passable impression of Cousin Eddie in an Italian-German beige motorhome.


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