Two sides of the pay by phone coin.

Today the parking industry trade magazine Parking Review published interviews from Verrus UK CEO Robin Bevan and RingGo’s commercial director Harry Clarke.

In Clarke’s interview titled A conversation piece the focus is very much on the end users experience of RingGo’s Pay By Phone system. Clarke explains “The first time a customer uses our service the call should last two minutes… Subsequent calls take 30 seconds”. Sadly Westminster motorists have been stuck with the rival Verrus system. So motorcyclists in Westminster can only dream of completing payment within 30 seconds. It’s not unusual to see riders standing out in the street at Westminster’s chargeable bike bays trying to complete payment for 20 or so minutes.

Robin Bevan’s interview titled A phone dialogue ( a bloody long one as well ) is focused heavily on how much extra money the councils can make if they use his system. Of course he doesn’t put it as crudely as us, he says “For councils, using pay-by-phone is about making their parking operation more cost effective. Getting more customers to use phone payment systems will enable councils to start reducing the number of machines”. Beven goes on to state how much better it would be for Verrus to have a monopoly “ There is a strong case for authorities to adopt the same contractor, as is the case with PIPS, the partnership of authorities in London“. We have to assume that Beven is not suggesting that PiP only use his nearest rivals system, RingGo. As Verrus already have a close working relationship with PiP (Partnerships in Parking) it would be so much nicer for him if all London boroughs picked his system. Yes we expect CEO’s of ambitious companies to think and dream of a monopoly, but to come out and say it is another matter.

If it wasn’t worrying enough to have the Verrus CEO wanting London councils to have no choice but his system, you should also know that the Chairman of PiP is none other than Tory Westminster Councillor Danny Chalkley. The same Councillor who lost over £800,000 pounds of tax payers money buy the wrong CCTV chips, from, you guessed it Verrus. This has quite rightly set off alarm bells regarding tenders and contracts handled by Westminster’s head of the legal department Peter Large. But don’t hold your breath waiting for a straight answer from him. Weeks ago Peter Large was asked for a copy of the Deed of Novation for the parking enforcement contract. This Deed of Novation would allow the reconstituted NSL to continue with a contract originally given to NCP. Without that contract novated any PCN issued in Westminster since March 2007 will be invalid and therefore reclaimable. So far Peter Large just can’t seem to lay hands on this deed.

Towards the end of Bevan’s interview end users do start to get a mention, but only those with a mobile phone and a credit card. With still a significant number of the UK population without either a mobile phone or a credit card, was it wise to leave them out of the Verrus equation?

It looks to Nutsville that the whole of Westminster’s parking department is starting to unravel, and could well bring down PiP along with it.

And all because one greedy step too far, charging scooters and motorbikes to park on the street.

In case you’re interested dear reader, of course we never did get an answer to our public question for Robin Beven.

Why is the Verrus Pay By Phone system of cashless parking so much of an improvement over what we had before?

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8 Comments

2bikersAugust 27th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Everytime I am in Westminster I see people struggling to use the verrus pay by phone system !
Chalkley + verrus = dodgy.

V for Very pissed off residentAugust 28th, 2009 at 7:07 am

This is just going to blow back in the faces of Chalkley, Westminster Council and the money grabbing Verrus. People will start to this for the sham it is, just a way to get more money out of visitors and residents. Residents are already having their permit parking space reduced by allowing others to park in them, including the Zipcar scheme.

Greed is fast becoming the mantra of Westminster Council.

John in CamdenAugust 28th, 2009 at 9:41 am

PiP is a bloody con… We pay for all these twats to sit down and think of ways of screwing more money out of us!

There’s no consideration to providing a ‘service’, it’s all about bringing money into the Councils and the worse thing is, that when all England’s councils are doing it, we’ll ALL be paying more money for nothing!

It’s like catch 22 and the only people that are winning are the ones involved in turning the public over and winning more money for the councils.

BobAugust 28th, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I like the way Nutsville keeps mentioning their free parking permits. With an election coming up next year, why don’t they just scrap the free parking permits. It would kill the story dead.

CassandraAugust 29th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

There is a bye-lection coming up soon by any reckoning.
Cllr Wilder dropped dead recently.

It could be they don’t bother to have a bye-election being so close the May elections next year.

My money is that they soon to avoid any of the opposition getting a march on them.

Anyone care to stand as an independent? Ian Wilders majority was only 220, so not too many votes to convert.

The free parking for Councillors would be a ticket that would trun 221 voters!

witheldAugust 29th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I don’t ride a motorbike, but I can say that your column brings more than a wry smile to many of the grunt workers here at the Council!

I don’t work in Parking, I work in Leisure, a department that Chalkely is thankfully not in charge of (he used to be).

The Councillors all say they don’t take any notice of the West End Extra newspaper, but then you find them reading it in the bog.

Nutsville is required reading for all of us.

They dismiss it with a wave of arrogance in the same way an Edwardian aristocrat dismisses an irritating obstruction to the journey of his sedan chair.
The Councillors are like Baboons in a tree. They look down and all they see is smiling faces. We look up and all we see is arseholes.

Westminster Council is rapidly descending into a laughable organisation run by infants with little grasp of reality, no accountability and a lamentable record on listening to their residents and tenants.

The inside track is that Chalkely will yet again issue some ‘modification’ to the charging scheme soon. We in this department do not know what that is (To be fair, nor is there any reason we should be informed).

Suffice to say it will be another valiant attempt at the Gold medal for being a Utter Twat.

Well, Chalkley – here is the skinny. You are already known as a twat by the Council officers who seek to serve you for a measly 18k a year ( and no FREE parking like you!)

Your nickname is Ninny.
NNN.
A Needy, Nobody, Nothing.

From the shop floor…..

Verrus ShitAugust 29th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Tried to get a new permit today online, bloody verrus site is broken. Why did Chalkley pick such a shit company.

witheldSeptember 1st, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Easy answer.

Pockets lined, nests feathered, palms greased, scores settled, backs scratched, moats cleaned…

Its how Westminster Tories work.

Its frightening how child-like Councillors betray their citizens with such casual disregard.

Chalkley is barely out of diapers. Just as well as he is about to sh*t himself royally.
Burp Bridge is still in therapy because her hair wasn’t quite Jo-Lo right and her t*ts are sagging.
Tombolis looks like he appreciates cake and Roberts is a wastrel of little concern except when things occur in her own backyard.

Westminster has turned into a reflection of a company run by odious liars and moneygrubbing oiks with decades of duplicity, cynicism and carpet-baggery to draw upon. They are so predicatable right down to the patronising contempt they have for their customers/voters.

Shame they lost sight of their core values like HONESTY and democracy (though one Tory is on record as saying that the majority doesn’t matter in Westminster).

Shamless and hopeless all at once.

What a combination!

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