Yesterday, we published a piece about how car parking prices in Kingston were generally far cheaper than those in Wimbledon. This has lead to some discontent among Wimbledon residents, some who feel it has an adverse effect on business by putting off the casual shopper. You can read the piece HERE.
One key reason for the difference in pricing is that the two main car parks in Wimbledon are privately owned whilst car parks like The Rose Car Park in Kingston are run by the council.
However, last night in Kingston perhaps showed the downside of cheaper parking.
We arrived at The Rose Car Park to discover that the entrance and exit ticket barrier system has been replaced with a pay and display option plus a pay by mobile option. A misspelt hand written sign (see above right) told us so.
Problem number one: The car park is on nine levels. The pay and display machines are on level three. The idea is that you both a) park your car and walk several levels to the pay and display machines or b) pull in at the (two) pay and display machines to buy a ticket before finding a parking spot. This last option would be unworkable if there are cars behind yours as it would hold everything up.
Problem number two: The pay and display ticket machines were ALL out of order last night. They all displayed a ‘Not in Use’ sign (see picture). Never mind, at least each Pay and Display station had a “Push Button for Assistance” option...
Problem number three: The “Push Button for Assistance” button to the car park attendant’s office went unanswered for over 10 minutes and was still unanswered as we gave up and walked away. But fear not – we can use the new pay by mobile phone system right? Right?
Problem number four: The pay by mobile phone option was unworkable as the automatic voice recognition service simply could not understand our accent. We speak the Queen’s English.
We were far from alone in our predicament. This was at 8.15pm and people were arriving in good numbers to eat out in the Marketplace and riverside area on a lovely early summer’s evening. People were walking around the car park in high states of incredulity and frustration as every possible attempt to buy a ticket was thwarted at every turn.
Our salvation? A couple who had earlier managed to buy a ticket from one of the machines before it went off line kindly gave us their unexpired ticket in sympathy as they drove out.
So car parking in Kingston may be cheaper than Wimbledon – but you need to able to buy a ticket in the first place or it could become very expensive indeed!
Come on Kingston Council this needs sorting out quickly!
Member since: 10th July 2012
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