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When are Westminster going to stop deluding themselves about the Verrus pay by phone system?

October 23, 2009

Following Councillor Chalkley’s recent introduction of the Verrus pay by phone technology, Westminster City Council have never been so desparate to advertise the false merits offered by this new parking payment method. Councillor Chalkley not only has decided to use this technology for car drivers, but also for motorcyclists, thus making Westminster City Council the only local authority in the world that stealth taxes bikers for parking.

If you still have the energy and patience to listen to the usual Westminster spin, then they will tell you that motorists and motorcyclists love the Verrus pay by phone system. That’s because Councillor Chalkley and his team keep brain washing everyone they come across, including their fellow Conservative Councillors, who enjoy the valued benefit of holding a free official parking permit, exempting them from using the Verrus pay by phone parking technology on a daily basis. But if you are a victim of Councillor Chalkley, i.e. a resident or visitor of Westminster, you have the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing the poorly designed and unreliable Verrus pay by phone system.

Here is an extract of the usual blah blah from Alastair Gilchrist, former parking director at Westminster City Council working for Councillor Chalkley:-

“By using the blend of technology from Verrus with the customer service skills of Converso is the perfect solution to introducing a service that is being readily adopted by the general public.”

So Mr Gilchrist believes that the Verrus technology provides a service that is readily adopted by the general public. Well, the latest survey conducted by the AA (Automobile Association) seems to prove the opposite. Firstly, people are concerned about their personal security – standing on the road using a mobile phone looking at a sign. Secondly, there is some concern about the security of the system itself – you have to give credit card details by mobile phone to a call centre. How secure is this? Needless to mention the fact that you have to specify your card’s CVV number (the security code at the back of your card) if you choose to pay by text message! Thirdly, according to the AA, 59% overall, and 52% of the Londoners surveyed, said they were quite unlikely or very unlikely to use a pay by phone parking system, should this method of payment be introduced in their local borough. But, according to Mr Gilchrist, the pay by phone parking system has been readily adopted by the general public!

Let’s throw in some more Westminster spin, still from Alastair Gilchrist: Over two thirds of the sample was satisfied with the new service”. But according to the AA, nearly 60% of drivers give pay-by-phone parking facilities the thumbs-down. So in other words, slightly more than 1 person out of 3 (i.e. 40%) support the use of pay by phone parking facilities while, according to Mr Gilchrist, more than 2 people out of 3 (i.e. at least 67%) are in favour of this payment method for parking. All this sounds a little inconsistent, doesn’t it? Would you trust the figures given by Westminster City Council, given that they have proved in the past their inability to add up numbers and present accurate and reliable numerical data?

We have delibarately left the best quote for the end, still from Alastair Gilchrist:-

“The beauty of this system is that we have set up a Framework agreement which will enable other Councils to use the same services from Verrus and Converso without an expensive and time consuming procurement”.

Absolutely! The whole point of the Verrus pay by phone parking system is to enable Westminster City Council to make more business by “selling” its scheme to other councils. What motorists think is irrelevant, Councillor Danny Chalkley is desparate to push through the pay by phone technology to boost his own political career. He’s also desparate to push through his motorcycle parking tax, for which the only viable method of payment is by using the unpopular Verrus system, to generate yet more income and make the overall scheme even more attractive for other councils. This is what the “Partners in Parking” programme (also known as “PiP”) is all about. Anything else that Westminster City Council say about the pay by phone technology and the motorcycle parking tax is just pure spin, a desparate attempt to hide the truth and blatantly push though the PiP scheme, by punishing innocent motorcyclists, who are keen to use a mode of transport that alleviates road congestion, air pollution and makes Central London a nicer and more environmentally friendly city.


Sources (click to view):-


Halloween demoPlease 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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One Comment
  1. Don’t forget that Wastemonster have now set up a deal with Parkeon to trial some contactless systems (wave and pay card etc…) .

    Funnily enough, Desperate Dan has been quoted many times saying Wastemonster are leading the way with this technology. What he doesn’t mention is that others are using Parkeon in the UK and abroad AND it’s driven by the Partners in Parking (PiP) quango funded by the London Centre for Excellence.

    Something else for them to balls up no doubt but it does rather put Verrus on alert. However, I think that just the Parkeon wave and pay readers are going to be bolted on to existing parking systems. Wonder what that would mean for motorcyclists and Captain Rathbone?

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