Former Edinburgh parking attendant debunks myth that they're paid commission for giving out tickets
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A parking warden who used to work on the streets of Edinburgh has put paid to the myth that they earn any extra cash for managing to pass out more tickets.
In truth, they just make sure that people aren’t parking where they are supposed to be parking.
After all, it is illegal to park somewhere that isn’t allowed, so you’ve only got yourself to blame if you receive a ticket and a fine.
This particular parking attendant said that they worked in Edinburgh for ‘a good few years’ and wanted to give an ‘honest’ account of what they did during their time in the much-maligned profession, as well as clearing up some things that people think are true but patently aren’t.
You’ve probably heard the rumour that parking wardens are paid extra for awarding more tickets, but that doesn’t seem to be true.
The Redditor was asked about this rumour, responding: “Absolutely not. This seems to be the most common misconception.
“I believe that commission pay for such activity is actually illegal in Scotland.
“There was no real incentive at all.
“After a while in the job, I'd see me doing 1 ticket a day and not giving a toss.
“Sure, doing more tickets kept the management sweet, but after long I stopped giving a toss what they thought!”
Obviously, more tickets means more money for the council, but it also means that more people are parked illegally, which isn’t exactly a massive win.
When asked whether giving out less tickets led to some awkward conversations with the bosses, the ex-parking warden explained how different areas of the Scottish capital often yielded different results.
They said: “There was one particular beat that wouldn't bat an eyelid if you only got 1 ticket.
“It covered Boat Green, Bellevue, Broughton Road etc.
“Don't get me wrong, some days you could somehow come back with double figures, but some days it was completely dead.
“Monday and Friday could be quite busy down there but other days it wasn't.
“I'd say about 80 percent of that beat was just cars with permits which very rarely required a ticket.”
Well, if people aren’t parked illegally, it’s not as if they can be given a ticket, is it?
However, there were other days when huge amounts of tickets could be given out.
The ex-warden explained: "I think 32 was my most. I certainly didn't go out my way to do 32, but it was a sunny Saturday in George Street, and it was almost like people just totally gave up on the parking rules.
"I think in the 3 hours between my lunch finishing and my shift ending, I did 19 tickets. Most of which were pay and displays like 20-30 minutes over their time. Pretty bizarre."
On the government’s official website regarding civil enforcement of parking, it is stated that ‘raising revenue should not be an objective of civil parking enforcement, nor should authorities set targets for revenue or the number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) they issue.’
It adds: “The purpose of penalty charges is to dissuade motorists from breaking parking restrictions.
“The objective of civil parking enforcement should be for 100% compliance, with no penalty charges.
“Parking charges and penalty charges should be proportionate, so authorities should not set them at unreasonable levels.”
In the case of private parking companies, it completely depends on whether the operator is part of the British Parking Association or the Independent Parking Committee.
The code of practise for the BPA states: “Effective from 2 January 2018, the practice of offering financial incentives relating to the quantity of parking charge notices in new and existing employee contracts is prohibited.”
As for the IPC, they state: “You may use incentive schemes to motivate your staff and improve productivity.
"However, you may not use an incentive scheme which focusses solely on the volume of parking charges issued without introducing sufficient checks and balances so as to ensure that operatives do not issue Parking Charges where they should not”.
That doesn’t explicitly rule out such targets, though it seems to discourage them.
If the car park isn’t a member of either of those bodies, we can’t say what they are doing.
Better to make sure you’re parked legally, or within the rules of the car park you are in, to avoid finding out.