There’s an outfit round here that has got its snout firmly in the council outsourcing trough. Their sole task is to enforce parking restrictions.

Their meter maids turn up in vans with the name of the company emblazoned on the sides. That name is, wait for it, ParkSafe. Yeah, I reckon I know what you’re thinking, and I did too. I’m surprised their slogan isn’t, ‘Parking solutions for today’s roads’ or some such crap.

Naturally I had to get some gen on them, and went to the website, where I found to my delight that the company forms part of the North Essex Parking Partnership. No, I had no idea that existed either, but it’s another link in the food chain for people to stuff their faces/wallets.

ParkSafe does have a slogan, by the way. ‘Making Streets Safer.’ I’m all for that. Park on the zigzags outside a school, or flanking a pedestrian crossing, you’ve got it coming. Ditto double yellow lines at a road junction. It’s a fair cop then*. But most restrictions aren’t about safety, they’re about revenue.

ParkSafe are in charge of enforcement in pay and display carparks. How nailing somebody who inadvertently runs a few minutes past the time on their voucher makes the streets safer is beyond me. Same thing with the ‘Waiting limited to 30 minutes. No return within 2 hours.’ That’s not a safety issue, is it?

I’ve mentioned before the idiocy of the parking restrictions down the road where I live. There are single yellow lines both sides, which means that you can’t park there between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Miraculously, in the 14 hours separating those times overnight, the street becomes safe. WTF? How does that happen? It’s like a pumpkin changing into Cinderella’s magic coach. That never happened either. But park there during the forbidden hours, and ParkSafe will nab you. Unless you happen to be a copper on your lunch break of course.

Then there are the wardens. If I had to put a fiver on it, I’d bet they’re referred to as operatives, but hey ho. Back in the day, a warden’s equipment consisted of a pad of tickets, a pen, and some placky bags to put the tickets in and shove under the windscreen wiper of the offending vehicle. Now they look as if they’re tooled up for riot control in somewhere paricularly unstable. They’ve got gizmos agogo, most of with I can’t recognise. It’s as if Judge Dredd just issued you with a parking ticket.

Just to put the icing on the cake, it’s now possible to get busted without seeing the buster, or being aware that you’re the bustee. They have camera cars. It’s a bit like concealed speed cameras. First you know about your outlaw status is when the ticket arrives in the post. That’s not a deterrent, it’s cynical moneygrabbing.

*And if you drive a Range Rover or Rolls Royce, obviously.

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