Stealth Tax?

  laurie53 09:14 01 Jan 2009

There are plans to introduce ANPR cameras at some hospital car parks in Scotland to make sure the free parking is not abused by commuters, which is a problem in some places.

The cameras will simply be used to make sure people do not stay longer than 4 hours.

The Tories have attacked it as a "stealth tax".

click here

Are they not ever so slightly a bit paranoid?

  the hick 09:29 01 Jan 2009

Some Tesco stores use these, they read reg. nos. going in and out, then if time is greater than, say, 3 hrs, the system records it, and car owner gets a bill in the post. How they can enforce payment, I know not, because no law has been broken. Also, some council tips have similar, to help prevent users going to the facility more than twice in one day.

  Forum Editor 10:07 01 Jan 2009

by commuters in all kinds of situations; it's the reason many parking zones in London have 'resident permit holders only between 11a.m. and 1:00 p.m' restrictions applied. It may be the same elsewhere, I wouldn't know.

If there's a rule that you can only park somewhere for 4 hours I have no problem with checks being carried out to enforce it. That said, a token system would seem to be an obvious solution- you get a token which opens the car park barrier from the hospital staff who deal with you. No hospital appointment/treatment = no token, and no exit from the carpark unless you pay a fine.

  newman35 10:58 01 Jan 2009

Hospital users have different categories:-
1) Patients attending clinics etc
2) Visitors of patients.
3) Staff who work there.
4) 'Illegal', non-hospital users.

Patients should be free, staff should probably have their own designated parking and visitors should probably pay something.
However as 'visitors' will also have their own categories, regular long-period visiting (child in ward, for example). This could be adequately handled by the barrier system where, when the hospital ward considers the extra times to be necessary, the desk could issue barrier tokens on an individual basis.
Any 'rogue' commuter parkers would not get past the barrier - and would quickly learn not to use.

No need for cameras. Surprised nobody has brought up 'big-brother' snooping!!

  interzone55 11:41 01 Jan 2009

They'll have to collect a lot of parking fees to pay for the ANPR systems as they cost around £5,000 per camera for a decent set-up (that includes the camera, software and recording device) and then the DVLA charge £3 a record for local authorities, government bodies to access their database...

  laurie53 19:41 01 Jan 2009

All good points, but still don't see how it is a "stealth" tax.

  interzone55 20:07 01 Jan 2009

Of course it's not a stealth tax - this is just a phrase used by Tories to anger people. I believe that the Daily Telegraph, that bastion of calm reasoning came up with the term...

  jack 20:34 01 Jan 2009

Problems to deal with - ensure fair use of what has to be limited parking.
Certainly my local hospital makes charges but has 'claw back' schemes for patients and reduced rates for staff.
This hospital is some 3 miles from Town Centre, and thus commuters it would have been thought
not a problem.
But not so- an excellent 'Fastrack' ten minute interval bus service on a dedicated track takes 10- minutes to the rail station.
So I guess the deterrent will stay.
In another town where I attended for Radiotherapy
as a patient I purchased a 1 hour ticket and presented it to the car park office where upon I was issued with a 5 day pass- thus 20 visits on 4 tickets was an acceptable way of controlling the situation.

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