Bikers end up with a lemon with Verrus pay by phone system

When Westminster City Council decided to inflict charges for PTW’s (Powered Two Wheelers), they also introduced a cashless system, no coins you must have a credit card. WCC awarded the lucrative contract to a company called Verrus, who provide the road signs, pay by phone system, credit card processing and even a large part of the Westminster website used to process on-line payments. This decision forced riders looking to park in Westminster to use the poorly thought out and implemented Verrus system of pay-by-phone. No thought was given to riders safety and security, as they are expected to stand out in the street waving their mobile phones and credit cards in a cynical move to squeeze extra money out of them to satisfy the Verrus shareholders and the Councils appalling parking department.

Riders were conned into the brave new world of cashless parking with the promise of extra space and much needed security. One year down the line, and the experiment is still running, generating huge amounts of revenue for both Verrus and Westminster City Council.

It’s all very suspicious just how we ended up with the vastly inferior Verrus system, a system only designed for cars. A system with many flaws and insecurities, a system which at the end of the day is simply crap and provides no benefits for PTW’s users whatsoever. The security devices never were rolled out, on-street bays remain just as packed as ever, our bikes are constantly damaged, PCN’s are still issued at twice the rate before Verrus came along.  But now Verrus and WCC make us pay for that privilege. In what seems a desperate cash grab we learn of the Verrus system failing to send out reminders for expiring permit holders. At first we thought it was a few one off incidents, but as we move further into September the number of riders who have not been sent either an email reminder or a text reminder are paying for the Verrus’s crap system through PCN’s.

On the Councils website it says:–

Will I be notified when my permit is due to expire?
Yes, for weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual permits.

  • For weekly permits we will notify you by email the day before the permit expires;
  • For monthly, quarterly and annual permits, we will notify you one week before the permit is due to expire;

You may opt in for a text reminder for any permit at a cost of 10p.

We thought the first trickle of emails we received were just from people who may not have checked their emails. But now we are receiving a growing number of emails from people who have paid Verrus to have a text reminder. But none of this will bother WCC or Verrus, why should it, riders have no choice but to pay up, and so what if they don’t get their reminders, the Council just fines them £40, and dares them to complain with the threat of doubling the fine.

An example of the bloody awful crapness of the Verrus system was posted on UK France when they exposed how the Verrus programmers had written the software to leave customers guessing as to why they could not make payment. But why should Verrus bother one jot about the customers experience, it’s not as if their customers can go anywhere else is it. So there is absolutely no incentive to spend that little bit of money on providing an intuitive customer interface, which can give out helpful messages when things go wrong, which they often do with Verrus. It’s always the end user, the poor bloody riders that end up paying for what must be the worst pay-by-phone system for bikers in the whole world. Tell us if you know of a worse pay-by-phone system for PTW’s?

So who do we have to thank for this lemon of a system? Well there’s the CEO of Verrus UK, Robin Bevan who thinks it’s great to have a totaly cashless parking system. But he won’t tell us why it’s so much better for us to have his crappy, broken, insecure, overpriced Verrus toss inflicted on PTW’s riders over what we had before Verrus.

Then there’s the Stewie and Dewey of Westminster parking procurement, the two men that pushed this all through on the back of broken promises, Councillor Danny Chalkley and (now side lined) Alastair Gilchrist.

Yes, it was those three men who were responsible for feeding tax payers money into the parking industry fruit machine, and came up with three lemons, Verrus, Verrus and Verrus.

Thanks a lot guys.

To all those riders who have written to us about not receiving a reminder of any sort, please keep us informed. Tell us if Westminster’s are turning down your first informal PCN appeal, we would love to hear Westminster’s reasons. We can guess, it will be your fault, it always is.

Related articles.

Chalkley’s crap Verrus Pay By Phone system goes tits up!

Pay By Phone security failure for bikers only!

More misery caused by crap Verrus pay by phone parking system, yet again!

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12 Comments

LizSeptember 10th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

My annual permit expired on the 7th September 2009 – I did not receive any reminder from WCC. Fortunately I was aware and renewed the permit the day before. This, however was not as simple as it should have been. I tried multiple times to renew online and kept getting an error saying the transaction had failed. There was no explanation as to why it failed and it took me quite a while to find out for myself the nature of the problem.

WCC sucks and so do Verrus!

ConsideringLeavingSeptember 10th, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Verrus sucks, blows and takes yer money!

PaulSeptember 10th, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Verrus is just a complete piece of shit.

LibertySeptember 11th, 2009 at 7:14 am

If you have actually PAID for the optional reminder, then it seems to me that you might have a reasonable legal case (eg Trades Description Act) against Westminster City Council (since it is the Council with whom you transact, even if the Council uses Verrus to provide the actual service), and I would also claim for the cost of any PCN received !!

What a shocking “service” from both Verrus and from Westminster City Council. Perhaps Verrus’ Robin Bevan can offer some explanation, and offer to refund those people unfortunate enough to have received a PCN, as a result of not getting the reminder they should rightfully have expected from Verrus / WCC.

JasonSeptember 11th, 2009 at 9:57 am

I was really hacked off as a resident to discover my bike had a parking ticket. I would like to know why I wasn’t sent a reminder, my email address has not changed. They managed to send me a condescending email when they reduced the fees, so they can send out spin when they want.

I’d like to know from Mr Bevan and Mr Chakley what have I got for my £150 a year and my fine?

MSeptember 11th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

My three month permit ran out, and after I finished work went back to my bike and found I had a ticket. I thought I had legislated against this by paying westminster for a text reminder, but I didn’t get one.

This whole system should be taken out of service until it is fixed, or better still scrapped.

It is not fit for purpose, and I better not have any hassle getting my ticket cancelled, you’re on a warning chalkley!

Juan José VillanuevaSeptember 11th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

That same thing happened to me.

I really think the way the Council and Verrus are behaving to be very unfair.

I was a mug and just paid the fine, but I am moving away from Westminster soon, it’s got so bad.

NeilSeptember 11th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I too was not sent a reminder. I think that this should be looked at as a group. Westminster City Council and its agent Verrus, entered into a contractual arrangement to send out reminders. This they failed to do and are therefore in breach of contract. They are therefore liable for the damages we incured i.e PCN and our costs (time dealt dealing with their tax related matters). Lets inundate them with small claims actions!!

BigArtSeptember 11th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

I’ve been arguing with Verrus/WCC about text reminders recently and would be glad to hear from anyone who has paid the 10p for a monthly reminder and then not received it if they have renewed their permit before the deadline. I’m taking up the case with the OFT so any ammunition I can gather will be useful as WCC are making this out to be an isolated case, when I suspect this is far wider than that. My view is I want the text if I’ve paid for it, regardless…

AussieBattlerOctober 19th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

This is the second time I received no reminders but unfortunately this time I didn’t happen to be standing by my bike and wasn’t able to stop the issuance of a ticket. I buy the permits quarterly and was told by Verrus in July that they had fixed the problem and I would definitely receive reminders in future. Nope. Nothing, except a ticket. I’ve appealed the ticket as I know with SMS services they should receive a reply from my mobile phone company confirming that I have received the text – I want to see this confirmation. Of course, Verrus probably don’t keep this confirmation, nor will they probably have any record of my phone call in July. This is a mess and surely Westminster must realise it.

[...] opportunity to pay by cash, as the only other way to pay for parking in Westminster is by using the crap Verrus pay-by-phone system, but only if you have both a credit card and mobile [...]

[...] September last year we described how we were receiving a number of reports from disgruntled PTW owners who had not been receiving the [...]

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