A Blackpool taxi driver has spoken out in anger after he was charged £60 for sitting in his car in an empty car park.
Paul Stone, 55, from Bispham, was given a £60 parking fine by Parking Awareness Services for failing to display a valid ticket when he parked for around five minutes in a small car park on General Street while waiting for a phone call.
He said: “I consider myself a law-abiding citizen and I was only there for at the most five minutes.
“I was in an empty car park, it wasn’t like I was taking up other drivers’ spaces. If I had left my vehicle or if I had blocked other people from parking I would have thought, fair enough, but I didn’t.”
Matthew Wild, director of Parking Awareness, defended his company’s decision to charge Mr Stone.
He said: “Companies and landowners use our services to enforce terms and conditions so that the parking facilities on-site are used properly, in this instance the vehicle driver was on the phone not displaying a valid ticket as required.
“If they had been using the facilities properly then they wouldn’t have been issued a Parking Charge Notice.”
Mr Stone, who works for taxi company C Cabs, forked out for the fine to avoid being charged an extra £40 for failing to pay within two weeks.
He believed that he would have 21 days to appeal against the decision, but was later told by Parking Awareness that, as the fine had been paid, the case was closed.
He said: “At the end of the day you’re appealing to somebody who gave you the parking ticket in the first place, and they are not going to want to turn around and say ‘I was wrong’.”
He added that he believed he had been unfairly targeted because of his profession as a taxi driver – though he admitted that he had not displayed a valid ticket as Parking Awareness stated.
“Taxi drivers are often seen as easy targets for this sort of thing. It can cost us a whole day’s wages,” he said.