Train operator closes desabled parking loophole at new station car park
TRAIN operators First Capital Connect have taken action to close a loophole allowing disabled motorists unlimited free parking in the new multi-storey station car park at St Albans City Station. The move came after Robert Hill, a member of St Albans and
TRAIN operators First Capital Connect have taken action to close a loophole allowing disabled motorists unlimited free parking in the new multi-storey station car park at St Albans City Station.
The move came after Robert Hill, a member of St Albans and District Disabled Access Group, investigated disabled parking at the newly-opened, multi-storey car park in Victoria Street.
Mr Hill wanted to test how accessible the disabled spaces were so he called FCC accessibility and inclusion manager Lee Millard on Monday morning to find out how the system worked.
Mr Millard told him that all blue badge holders needed to do on leaving was show their badge to one of the car parking attendants who would be at the exit 24 hours a day.
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Mr Hill questioned how FCC monitored the length of time a person had spent in one of the disabled spaces. But he was told that there was no specific time limit, and although the car park was intended for railway users, car park operators NCP would not object to disabled people leaving their cars for longer periods.
He pointed out that the lack of a time limit would be a problem for disabled commuters using the car park on a daily basis. He said: "If blue badge holders left their cars for two weeks while taking the train to Gatwick and flying abroad, where would people going to work park?"
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By Tuesday, FCC had taken action and a spokesperson warned that cars using disabled spaces could park for a maximum period of 24 hours and if they stayed in a space for longer they could be fined.
He said: "This ensures that people are not occupying spaces for long periods of time, which may affect other people's ability to find a suitable space."
He maintained that disabled parking was closely monitored by NCP which manages the car parks at the station.
Currently there are 13 disabled spaces in the new car park and four on the station forecourt.
It was agreed when the new car park was built that 13 disabled spaces would be added rather than the 24 that Government legislation required because it was quite a long way from the platforms.
So additional spaces are due to be installed in the Ridgmont Road and Station Way car parks within the next three months.