From: Nick Vane
I would like to say a huge thank you to Stephen Lloyd MP and his staff for their help in defending me against bureaucratic injustice.
Over the summer I have read four letters from Herald readers complaining about the wrongful issuing of penalty notices by SABA Parking Solutions who run our station carparks on behalf of Govia Thameslink Railway. The first of these was my own.
Drivers dropping off and collecting passengers later in the day have been accused by SABA of parking without paying – their ‘evidence’ being Automatic Number Plate Recognition pictures of cars arriving in the morning and leaving in the evening.
On appeal there is no attempt to check their own camera records to verify that these vehicles in fact left immediately after dropping off and returned before picking up and in my case, they disregarded an independent witness statement confirming that my car was parked 30 miles away.
There follows a second supposedly independent appeal process which simply confirms the result of the first, as they have no access to camera records either and throughout the process the fines increase and those accused are threatened with credit rating penalties, debt collection agencies and criminal prosecution.
When asked for help, Govia Thameslink told me that because of several similar incidents they were raising the matter of automatic number plate recognition with SABA’s senior management but meanwhile my unpaid penalty had been passed to a debt collection agency.
I then contacted our MP Stephen Lloyd whose immediate intervention with GTR has resulted in my wrongful penalty being dropped. Hopefully they will be dropping similar charges against others wrongly accused but I wonder how many have simply paid the fine to avoid anxiety .This whole process has been extremely stressful and time consuming but to date I have had no explanation or apology from SABA nor reassurance that their ANPR systems have been corrected.
Therefore readers be warned, if you drop off passengers in the station car park that this could happen to you.