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What to do when the Verrus pay by phone parking system is down in Westminster

October 8, 2009

Back in August, we published a couple of posts (titled “I’ve tried 10 times, it’s not working!” and “More misery caused by crap Verrus pay by phone parking system, yet again!“), where we expressed our frustration at the Verrus pay by phone parking system, for being so unreliable and user unfriendly.

When we called Westminster customer services at the time, 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. No comment, other than this is how Westminster City Council treat the public that they are paid to serve.

We have today come across (yet another) Freedom of Information request to which Westminster City Council answered the following:-

“In order to avoid being issued with a PCN during times when the system is unavailable for use, motorists calling to use the pay by phone service will be informed, by automated message, to use other payment facilities, where available, or to move”.

So, if you’re a motorist, assuming they mean car driver, then you are advised to use the alternative payment methods, i.e. the small number of pay and display machines available (which only accept credit/debit cards) or scratch cards, or else, go and park elsewhere, we mean outside the borough of Westminster, even if we are talking about miles away from your destination.

But what if you’re a poor motorcyclist, having to deal with the Verrus pay by phone system, when it rains, is freezing cold and your hands are frozen, so that you can’t even take your mobile phone out of your pocket, your credit/debit card out of your wallet and dial the number? You have no quick and practical alternative but use this Verrus pay by phone system, which breaks down more often than it should and leaves its users in distress.

So what if you’re a motorcyclist and the Verrus pay by phone system is down? Westminster seem to only take care of motorists in this instance, i.e. car drivers. Motorcyclists don’t seem to count when the system is down, that’s because the large majority of them are unable to pay and bring cash in, as there are no other quick, reliable and practical ways of paying the parking tax for them. So what do we do then if we don’t want to be issued with a PCN, eh? Perhaps ride to the nearest Westminster run car park before motorcycle parking is taxed again, as a result of Councillor Chalkley’s decision to transfer their ownership into private companies (like he has done recently for the Chiltern Street and Leicester Square car parks), or ride to Camden or Kensington, where motorcycle parking is free, and then walk back to our destination, however long it might take?

Well done Westminster, you’re just a hassle for everyone, when are you going to understand this?


Source (click to view):-

FOI request re pay by phone outages


Campaign logoPlease 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 31st October 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 31 octobre 2009, ne la ratez pas! Pour plus d’informations, consultez


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