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Frequently Asked Questions 

Using Park-Up.com

How do I search for a space on Park-Up.com?

Enter the street name (and number if you know it) into the street box, or a postcode into the postcode box. For instance, enter "Baker St" and you'll see parking spaces near Baker Street; but it's quite a long street, so entering "221 Baker St" will give a better result, if you know the number.

Alternatively, a full postcode (like SW1A 1AA) will give a very precise result.

It doesn't matter if you use upper or lower case letters.

Can you tell me if a space is free?

Not yet, although we are working on that technology in areas which have pay by phone parking. What we can do is tell you where you should be looking.

Where does Park-Up.com's data come from?

We've sourced the data from the London boroughs and other local authorities, and from independent car park operators.

How accurate is Park-Up.com?

It's as accurate as we could make it! In addition to getting regular updates from local authorities, we've survey large areas ourselves, visiting the parking spaces to check their accuracy. (But if you do spot an error, please let us know by using the comment form on the parking spot's own page.)

I don't live in London! When will you be coming to my city?

We're still planning our expansion out of London, but we'll go where there's most demand. So please write to us using the Contact Us page, and tell us where you're having a nightmare finding a space!

Parking in London

What are the new parking regulations?

From 1st July 2007, all areas in London will be classified as Band A or Band B. (Most areas in Park-Up.com's coverage area are Band A.) There will be uniform fines in each band for parking offences across London. In Band A, the charges are:

  • More Serious Charges: £120 (£60 within 14 days)
  • Less Serious Charges: £80 (£40 within 14 days)

A 50% discount applies if the charges are paid within the 14 day-period.

Contraventions that will carry the higher penalty charge are:

  • parking in a restricted street during the prescribed hours (i.e on yellow lines)
  • stopping in an area where it is prohibited including a bus stop and outside a school
  • stopping on a pedestrian crossing or crossing area marked by zig zags, or in a clearway
  • failing to display a valid parking permit in a space reserved for specific users (i.e disabled, residents, traders or other permits)
  • parking, loading or unloading in a restricted area where loading is not allowed
  • using a space not designated for that class of vehicle
  • parking in a loading gap marked by a yellow line
  • parking in a suspended bay or space
  • parking in a loading bay during restricted hours without loading
  • parking more than 50cm from the edge of the carriageway and not in a designated parking place (eg double parking)
  • parking adjacent to a dropped kerb
  • using a disabled parking space without displaying a disabled badge
  • parking in a space designated for diplomatic vehicles or police vehicles
  • parking on a taxi rank
  • parking wholly or partly on a footpath, cycle track, or anywhere else other than the road.

Contraventions that will carry the lower penalty charge are:

  • parking in a meter when penalty time is indicated
  • parking after the expiry of the time paid for
  • failing to clearly display a valid pay and display ticket in a pay and display bay
  • feeding a meter
  • displaying multiple pay and display tickets
  • failing to pay the charge for parking
  • not displaying the required parking permit/ticket in a space not reserved for specific users
  • re-parking in the same place within hour of leaving
  • not parking within the markings of the bay or space
  • parking for longer than is permitted
  • leaving the engine running while parked (where prohibited)
  • using a parking space for purposes other than what it is designated for

Am I liable if I drive off before the Parking Attendant issues me or my car with a ticket?

If the Parking Attendant is from the council then no! To be valid, the ticket must be either handed to the driver or fixed to the vehicle. However if you subsequently get a Notice to Owner you should write to the issuing authority, explaining the situation, and ask for it to be cancelled. If the council refuses to cancel the ticket appeal to Parking & Traffic Appeals Service (http://www.parkingandtrafficappeals.gov.uk/). Many councils now photograph cars.

However, if you are in a similar situation with a police officer or a traffic warden you may be subsequently ticketed as they are subject to different enforcement legislation.

Can single yellow lines apply after 6.30pm or on Sundays?

Yes! Put simply, single yellow lines can apply for anything less than a 24 hour restriction and may also apply on Sundays. However double yellow lines always mean a total parking restriction t any time. It is essential that you check the signs. If the sign does not mention days of operation it means that the restriction applies seven days a week.

Do waiting restrictions (yellow lines) apply on Bank Holidays?

A common myth is that Bank Holidays are the same as Sundays and that waiting restrictions do not apply. If the sign says 'Mondays - Saturdays' then that includes Bank Holiday Mondays. For Bank Holidays to be exempt the sign would also have to include 'Except Bank Holidays'.

Are yellow lines legal if they don't have a T-bar (as above) where they end?

In accordance with the traffic engineer's bible - Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions - yellow lines must have a T-bar where they terminate or change from double to single or vice versa. If the T-bar is missing then the line is not legal and, therefore, not enforceable. T-bars are not required where a yellow line meets a parking bay or zebra crossing as bays and crossings effectively sit on top of the yellow line.

Am I allowed up to 5 minutes free parking?

Unfortunately not! - This is another motoring myth. Drivers are not permitted to stop for 'a few minutes' other than to set down or pick up passengers or load and unload goods (in the absence of any loading restrictions). It is totally at the parking attendant discression whether they allow you traffic warden or parking attendant may observe a vehicle for a few minutes to see if any such activity is going on before issuing a parking ticket, but there is an increasing trend to issue the ticket as soon as an illegally parked vehicle is seen. If you have been loading or unloading it is incumbent on the driver to produce evidence to that effect. (See Loading & Unloading.) There is no grace period.

To avoid having to pay a ticket at the full price is it advisable to send a cheque for the discounted price with a challenge in case it is unsuccessful?

If you send a cheque with your challenge to the validity of a ticket it is almost certain that the council will bank the cheque and close the case. It is standard practice for councils to 'stop the clock' whilst they consider an initial representation. If they reject it they will almost invariably give you the opportunity to pay at the reduced rate provided that you do so within 14 days of their notification.

Am I allowed a few minutes free parking to get change for the meter?

No! The regulations require that you put the money into the parking meter immediately after leaving your car.

What happens if one sticks a pay-and-display ticket on the windscreen and it falls, face down, on the dashboard before returning to the vehicle?

You will get a parking ticket! You are under an obligation to both "pay" and "display" - far safer to place the ticket, face up, on the dash board.

What should you do if a Notice to Owner (NtO) arrives for a parking ticket that you didn't know had been issued?

If you know that you had been illegally parked and the NtO arrived within a couple of months then I would recommend that you:

  1. respond admitting you were there at the time in question
  2. say that, had you received the ticket you would immediately have paid it at the reduced rate and that, in fairness the authority should give you the opportunity to pay it at the reduced rate.
  3. enclose a cheque for payment at the reduced rate

Although there is no guarantee that this will be accepted, human nature being what it is, most councils would rather have the reduced amount without any further argument than have the hassle of trying to get the other half from you. However! If several months have elapsed it is unreasonable for you to be expected to remember where you were at the time in question. Here I would recommend that you write back saying that you did not receive a parking ticket and that it is unreasonable for the council to pursue the matter.

Councils have a duty to act 'fairly'. It is generally accepted that an NtO should be sent no later than six months from the issue of the parking ticket. But even if it's three or four months it might be worth giving it a try.

We would be pleased to hear of anyone's success in getting either councils to drop cases, in such instances, less than six months after the date of the issue of the parking ticket, or adjudicators to uphold appeals against them.

Is it true that a parking ticket is not valid if it is issued by a parking attendant not wearing a hat?

The Department for Transport guidance circular 1/95 says 'when carrying out prescribed functions, and issuing a PCN is one such, [parking attendants] are subject to the Parking Attendants (Wearing of Uniforms) (London) regulations 1993.'

The National Parking Adjudication Service says that, in view of circular 1/95 PAs should wear hats during enforcement activity, but goes on to say that a PA not wearing headgear would not in itself be grounds for an appeal but could be considered as part of an appeal. The adjudicator would have to give it the importance he thought relevant to the case.

If colour of the vehicle is incorrectly recorded on a parking ticket is it valid?

PAs are required to make a note of a number of things, including the colour of the vehicle, all of which must be correctly recorded for the ticket to be valid. If the PA recorded that the vehicle as being white when, in fact, it was black there could be little argument that the information was incorrect and the ticket, therefore, invalid.

However, when does grey become silver become white? Or green become turquoise become blue? If such instances were taken to appeal an adjudicator may take the view that the colour was accurate enough for the ticket to be valid.

If I get a parking ticket can I remain at the same spot and not receive any further tickets or getting clamped or towed?

Not necessarily, although the attendant that issued your ticket may not re-ticket you one of his/her colleagues might.

What if the meter nearest to my car is broken/missing?

Report it immediately to either the nearest Parking Attendant or by calling the appropriate councils parking team giving the street, location, meter number and time of incident. Most meters have contact details located somewhere on the meter. You may be allowed to free parking if no other meter in the immediate vicinity.

What if the meter swallows my money?

Again report it immediately by calling the appropriate councils parking maintenance team giving the street, location, meter number, time and amount of money lost and claim a refund. You will certainly have to put you claim in writing to the council. Move to a new meter, do not try re-use faulty meter.

Can I park if a bay or meter is suspended?

Definitely NO!. Under no circumstances are you allowed to park in a suspended parking bay. You will certainly be ticketed and probably clamped or towed away.

If I go to appeal and win can I claim costs?

Adjudicators can award costs to appellants or councils if either party acts "frivolously, vexaciously or wholly unreasonably". The award of costs is the exception rather than the rule. However, you should ask the adjudicator for costs if you think you have grounds.

The question of the awarding of costs is addressed in Regulation 12 of The Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators) (London) Regulations 1993. 12. (1) The adjudicator shall not normally make an order awarding costs and expenses, but may, subject to paragraph (2) make such an order -

(a) against a party (including an appellant who has withdrawn his appeal or a local authority that has consented to an appeal being allowed) if he is of the opinion that that party has acted frivolously or vexatiously or that his conduct in making, pursuing or resisting an appeal was wholly unreasonable; or

(b) against the local authority, where it considers that the disputed decision was wholly unreasonable.

(2) An order shall not be made under paragraph (1) against a party unless that party has been given an opportunity of making representations against the making of the order.

(3) An order under paragraph (1) shall require the party against whom it is made to pay the other party a specified sum in respect of the costs and expenses incurred by that other party in connection with the proceedings.

The crucial points are the interpretation of the words ‘frivolously’, ‘vexatiously’ and ‘wholly unreasonably.’ According to my Thesaurus synonyms for ‘frivolous’ include:- trivial, petty, trifling and unimportant. ‘Vexatious’ - troublesome, distressing, grievous, harsh. ‘Unreasonable’- inadequate, unfair, unjust, intolerable.

It would appear to me to be ‘wholly unreasonable’ if a council refused to cancel a PCN on a point of fact. For example, where evidence had been provided of loading/unloading taking place or where signs were either missing or inadequate.