Westminster City Council = Hypocrites

Free Parking

Free Parking

At the last scrutiny committee meeting, Westminster Conservative Councillors droned on about bikes causing pollution, and that’s why they had to charge scooters to park. They were so keen to put this forward as their latest justification for the Westminster bike parking tax, one of them (Councillor Suzie Burbridge) even waved around a blank piece of paper, claiming it was a French report she’d found on that Interweb thingy (so it must be true), which said bikes pollute more than Hummers. So despite the biggest ever number of objections Westminster Council had ever had to the bike tax, these Conservative Party ambassadors thought it would be jolly nice if the charges were to carry on, just adding a few tiny tweaks. The main thing was to keep their paymasters Verrus happy, and stuff the residents and other stake holders. Oh how they clucked about the air quality, and something must be done.

Yes they did something all right, lets have free parking for all those four wheel drive gas guzzlers, yes, lets put on a parade for them, and encourage them to trundle in to the west end, they said. This is all wrapped up with the excuse of helping those hard pressed retailers of Oxford Street. Never mind the fact that in recent months these councillors had syphoned over three million pounds from their tills, in extortionate parking fees and fine after fine.

Underground spaces

Underground spaces

Well, on this ‘bring your gas guzzler to town day‘ us bike riders felt left out. Why weren’t we invited or even mentioned by Westminster’s PR diarrhoea machine? Could it be we were only needed to subsidise this festival of back slapping, for the gullible visitors to the overrated shopping experience found in Oxford Street these days.

You would have thought that two wheel transport was one of the solutions to our over crowded city centres, but not according to Westminster Councillors, who would much rather encourage four wheels rather than two.

Ching ching another PCN

Ching ching another PCN

Understandable really, isn’t it true that bikers use a different currency which can’t be spent in the shops of Oxford Street, yes that must be the reason for this tax. Yet whilst Westminster were busy encouraging the cagers in the West End with free parking, the Westminster fascist CEO army were at it ticketing scooters and bikes.

That is, apart from these two, who decided it was better to take in the sun and relax in the square, perhaps with time to phone the bookies. Plenty of time to ticket some bikes later to keep the quotas up.

Park bench CEO's Will this ticket machine fly if I throw it hard enough?

Today we decided to hold a meeting in one of those Westminster owned car parks, as we are being treated and fined like cars each bike took up a car space. They treat us like cars, we’re bloody well behave like them then.

They treat us like cars, so we can behave like cars

They treat us like cars so we must behave like cars

Bewildered car park jobs worth

Bewildered car park jobsworth

As usual we came up against a crack team of highly trained car park management bods, who didn’t seem to know their arse from their elbows. They first tried to get us to move to the designated bike bays, that just fell on deaf ears (bit like a Tory councillor). The first jobsworth we spoke to was sure we had to park in the bike bays, not even aware of the wording of his employers PR leaflets. Oh we must save the car spaces for the precious cagers he thought.

Next we were treated to two more of Westminster City Councils elite, they weren’t too steady about the rules though.

Parking professionals?

Parking professionals?

But they were keen to point out, over and over again that there were some lovely nice dedicated bike parking bays, down on level three. Yes we knew that, we paid for the paint and signs 50 times over. We guess they wanted us down on level three of the car park so the nasty rogue bikers wouldn’t startle any children.

Faced with an un-winnable argument (out on video soon) they were seen going back down into the underground from whence they came.

With the jobsworths out of the way we got on with what we were there for, talking to motorist to expose the injustice of this Tory Stealth Tax, the message is spreading Westminster!

Chelsea tractor conversion

Chelsea tractor conversion

The next official demo by the No To Bike Parking Taxes group will be on the 9th June 2009, so keep that day free. Just remember ladies and gentlemen, it’s only about the money.

Bikes are the solution, but we are fined the same price as cars

We are fined the same money as cars, is that fair?

No To Bike Parking Tax main website

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10 Comments

paulMay 23rd, 2009 at 4:40 pm

i read the whole lot, a great days work me thinks

TARzanMay 23rd, 2009 at 5:57 pm

The more people that see excellent reporting like this the better. The gap between Westminster Council spin and reality is huge and articles like this are bringing it to the publics notice.

The hypocrisy of Westminster Council knows no bounds.

MoyahMay 23rd, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Surly those subjected with PCNs can protest the charges on the following grounds: If a motorbike parks in a car parking bay, then such motorbike will have to pay the same rate as that of a car.. (the motorbike then becomes a car). IF parking for cars, technically meaning the bays, are free… Then is a motorbike parked in a car parking bay not also meant to be free!!!

Steve (Joney)May 23rd, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I attended today (from the sticks) and was handing out leaflets every one I spoke to supported our action /cause and were in total disbelief and in one or two cases angry at Westminster’s discriminatory and farceical attempt to limit the amount of bikes using the car park, it is well known we have the support of the general public and more actions like today’s will only serve to help,
well done to the chap who turned up about 3 hours late (had a puncture) but he still made it. I’m now looking forward to 9th June

InsideManMay 24th, 2009 at 5:14 am

The Council are so wrong on this, how can they get away with this, FREE means FREE, not generate money from this, on this stealth tax. Did any cars get issused with PCN, I think not.

Anti_Bike_TaxMay 24th, 2009 at 7:41 am

“They treat us like cars, so we must behave like cars”. Damn right!

Bikes are allowed to park in car bays as long as they pay the car parking fare. But because parking was free of charge in Oxford Circus car park all day on 23rd May 2009, bikes didn’t need to pay to park in car bays. It’s as simple as that. But the car park staff didn’t have a clue, which suggests how well internal communication flows within the council. The manager of that car park advised that he would limit the number of bikes to 80 in the car park… He just didn’t realise that we had the right to park in car bays, so what was he on about? Fuck you!

Anyway, thanks to Westminster’s free parking day in Oxford Street car park, while our bikes were securely parked in the car park in CAR BAYS (one bike parked right in the middle in each car bay), we went advertising the campaign in the streets, flyring bikes and 300+ scooter riders gathered in Carnaby Street. That’s 300 more protestors on board in 45 minutes!

ChrisMay 24th, 2009 at 9:06 am

No point criticizing 4×4 drivers, that’s exactly what the council want, drivers and bikers at each other’s throats rather that at the council’s. Let’s all stick together eh?

upyoursMay 24th, 2009 at 8:15 pm

I just hope that when the cars drivers see us get Westminster to drop this tax they get some concessions as well :)

Steve (Jonesy)May 24th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Do you have any more pictures if so can you e-mail some ..cheers

mar harJune 9th, 2009 at 7:34 am

the stickers come off real easy on the parking bays, also a black marker over the number works a treat too, just a thought

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