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I’ve tried 10 times, it’s not working!

August 11, 2009

While walking in the streets of Westminster today FREE of charge, until Westminster City Council start taxing pedestrians for using the pavement, that we assume comes at a premium in the same way as the roads do, we came across an interesting note that was left on a scooter parked in one of Chalkley’s taxable parking bays.

PBP out of order

When we saw this note, we immediately called the pay by phone number and found out that the line was engaged. We called again a few minutes later, the line was still engaged. We didn’t have the patience to try 10 times like this motorcyclist did, so we called Westminster customer services to find out what the hell was going on. A rather unpleasant operator answered the phone and, without us having a chance to say a single word, not even hello, we were told “if you’re calling about the parking phone system, it’s not working, so please call back later or go to a one-stop shop to buy a parking card”, and the operator hanged up. WOW, what a great customer service they have at Westminster City Council, what a great way of treating customers who make every effort to pay for their parking, using this unfriendly Verrus system, which keeps breaking down. Thank God, we were not given the opportunity to explain what we were calling for, as with our French accent, we would no doubt have been almost insulted by the operator. Have Westminster City Council not said that they’re looking for ways to spend the millions of pounds worth of revenue generated by the bike parking tax, and they would welcome the views of the public? Well, we would advise the Council to send their operators to a training course to learn how to treat customers, that would be a good start, wouldn’t it? But will we be listened to? Of course not, as the thousands of motorcyclists who have objected to the motorcycle parking tax, and who have been ignored by Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley for the past twelve months.

While continuing our promenade around Westminster and enjoying the nice sunshine, we bumped into a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO). We thought that perhaps this public servant would be a little bit more friendly than his colleagues in the customer services department. When asked what was going on with the pay by phone system, he advised (surprisingly quite politely) that it was down, and that we had to keep trying every thirty minutes, otherwise we might receive a PCN. Yeah right mate, as if we had nothing else to do with our time!

We seem to recall having seen earlier in the year a memo sent from Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley to Mr Warren Djanogly (chairman of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign) asking for the demonstration at the time to be called off, on the grounds that it would unnecessarily disrupt the schedule of thousands of Londoners trying to go home after a long and busy working day. Because of course, Chalkley doesn’t believe that he disrupts the life of thousands of motorists, including motorcyclists, with his Verrus pay by phone system every single day, which keeps breaking down every now and again! When it’s down, we are expected to call every thirty minutes until it’s fixed, or go and queue at a one-stop shop to buy a parking card, all this because Westminster City Council have decided to adopt the Verrus pay by phone system. And on top of this, they have decided to extend the use of this system to motorcyclists, who specifically use bikes as a mode of transport to reduce road congestion and air pollution!

Let’s see whether the bike parking tax, which is operating through this Verrus pay by phone system, will survive the legal fight initiated by the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign.


Please join and support the legal fight to get the bike parking tax in Westminster scrapped before it spreads all over the UK and the European Union. The next demonstration is on 16th August 2009, don’t miss it! For further details, visit

Soutenez et participez au proces dont le but est de forcer la mairie de Westminster a supprimer la taxe de stationnement des deux-roues avant que le concept ne se propage a travers le Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. La prochaine manifestation aura lieu le 16 aout 2009, ne la ratez pas! Pour plus d’informations, consultez


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