Private parking firms could have issued nearly 6.5 million tickets to drivers by the end of this financial year, new research has revealed.
A study by the RAC Foundation estimates that if current rates continue, private firms will have issued 6.44m tickets by April next year – an increase of nearly 800,000 tickets over the previous year.
Projections were calculated from the first three months of the financial year, with private parking firms requesting the vehicle keeper records of 1,479,152 cars during that time. That’s a 14 per cent increase over the 1,299,716 sets of records bought in the same period during 2017-18.
Vehicle keeper data is used by private parking firms to pursue motorists for penalties and charges for infringements of parking regulations – such as overlapping a parking space, overstaying the allocated time or entering incorrect details when buying a ticket. Private car parks are separate from those operated by local councils and are often found at shopping centres, supermarkets or motorway service stations.
Of the 1.48m sets of data purchased so far this year, ParkingEye has purchased 388,061, while fellow operators Euro Car Parks and Smart Parking have taken 125,322 and 114,217 respectively.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Motorists might well be asking what is going on when the number of records being sought by private parking companies has shot up yet again.
“Number like these suggest that something, somewhere, is going wrong.”
To request DVLA data firms need to be signed up to an accredited trade association. There are currently two of these in the UK – the BPA (British Parking Association) and the IPC (International Parking Community). Each has its own codes of practice and appeal processes.
However, a private member’s bill from Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight aims to unite the two under a common code of practice. The government has committed to backing the bill, with the House of Commons report scheduled for November 23.
Gooding continued: “Drivers will be pleased that sir Greg Knight’s bill has cleared another parliamentary hurdle in the hope that it won’t be too long before some much-needed regulatory oversight is brought to bear on the industry.”