Today the following post appeared on ITC
“15 minutes it took me to get out of the Lane Cove Market Square carpark today and because of that I went over in time and had to pay to get out. The “charming” women on the other side of the intercom wouldn’t let me get a word in to explain so I ended up just paying because it wasn’t worth listening to her blabbing on about it being a really busy carpark and I should have given myself enough time to get out before my three hours are up. Seriously ever since they changed the way the gates work it takes forever to get out of there, so they should give you some leeway for goodness sakes!!!!”
It was interesting to see this post after observing some activities in the car park recently. This post-appeared only days after I was also, for the first time, trapped by the dreaded boom gate.
When I drove into the car park it was just before 9.30 am ( 9.24 am to be exact). I don’t usually check the time but I did not want to be late for a meeting.
I had a client meeting, did some errands, posted some letters (and lets face it you need time to navigate the Lane Cove post office system) and then met another client for a meeting.
After the meeting I went back to my car, which was parked near the payment machine. As I was getting into my car I overheard a lady arguing with the voice in the machine. The boom gate had come down on her and she was letting the voice know that she had only been an hour or so and definitely not three hours in the car park.
By the time I backed out of the parking spot it was 12.20 pm. I had to give way to all the cars turning left and then had to wait for numerous cars to go through the boom gate and one car stopped to speak to the car park attendant. I went to drive out and the boom gate came down. I was surprised. How could this be I thought? I was sure I had minutes to spare. I looked down and I had exceeded the time by literally a couple of minutes.
After reading the large sign I was directed to read the small screen on the box on my right. I highly doubt that a person who specialises in communication or signage layout designed the instructional sign. So now I was the cause of a delay to other drivers. I then had to back up a bit to look at the box. I then strained my eyes to see. I had trouble reading the amount to be paid and how long I had been there. I did not have time to find my reading glasses, which were buried deep within my handbag. Meanwhile I am now creating a delay for others.
The system is flawed. It relies on you to remember the exact time you came into the car park. If you are in a hurry, have a screaming kid or some other distraction; it is very easy to forget the time you entered the car park.
I will now be taking a photo of my dashboard as soon as I park so I have some sort of contemporaneous note of the time I entered the car park. I wonder if there is an app for that.
It just does not make sense that if you are attempting to leave within the time period you are charged if you drive out after the three hours has just ticked over. I have had on numerous occasions had to wait in my car because the trolley man has parked me in. There are always going to be factors outside your control. This is why when you park in a car park that has a paper ticket payment system there is always a grace period (usually about 15 minutes) between paying and leaving the car park.
Bring in a grace period please. Do you agree?