We’ve been pressing Southeastern to give precise details of the parking arrangements for Car Park 4 starting tomorrow, Monday 24 October. Here’s the plan as we understand it:
- the “upper” car park – the main part of the car park, up the ramp, will be reserved for car parking season ticket holders until 0830. We think that the ramp itself is part of this area. There is enough space for all season ticket holders.
- the “lower” car park – the overflow area on the right immediately as you enter the car park, before the ramp, will be reserved for on-the-day payment until 0830. It has about 60 spaces.
- from 0830 there will be no restrictions anywhere – although as always parking is only allowed in marked and unreserved bays. Because the upper car park has slightly more spaces than issued season tickets it will mean that there will be at least 40 spaces there available for season ticket holders and day parkers on a first-come, first-served basis from 0830 onwards.
This seems to us a system that people could understand and that strikes a balance between season ticket holders and day parkers. It also allows some spaces for those who need to travel after 0830, such as those who have to drop their children at school first.
It’s not clear how scratchcards and machine-issued weekly tickets are handled. We think that these are counted as day parking, and need to use the lower car park. But this needs to be checked. Update 24 October: Southeastern have confirmed that weekly, scratch card and daily tickets count as day tickets.
There will be marshals to direct people to the correct area, at least on the first few mornings. However the signage still needs to be improved: there is no signage yet in the lower car park at all saying that the area is restricted to day parkers until 0830 (will day parkers risk a £100 fine by relying on the absence of notices in one area?) and the signs throughout the upper area refer to “This car park” – with no indication that this means just the “Upper” car park. We think the new signage needs:
- to be clear which rules apply to which area when
- to be easily read at a glance from a moving vehicle
- to give plenty of advance warning that early day parkers must divert off to the right into the lower car park
We have also suggested that for the first few days, and for the first offence, motorists parking in the wrong place will just be given a warning rather than a fine. Southeastern need to be seen as helping resolve the conflicting interests of different customers at the present difficult time, not using the opportunity to make some extra profit.
There is no change in the arrangements for Car Park 1: this is still reserved all day, Monday to Friday, for those with season tickets for this particular car park.
Please let us know your experience of the new system: is it clear? is it better? You can comment here.