St Helier Constable wants end to scratch card parking

The Constable of St Helier Simon Crowcroft has pledged to push for an end to the scratch card method of paying for parking in town.
He said that he saw it as a 'fine' which threatened to punish people who over-stayed their time in town. The Constable would like to see the method of payment for parking changed. "What's worst about the car parks and I think the same applies on street is the current system of charging for parking," said Constable Crowcroft. The Constable said that it was outrageous and punitive, that it stopped people from staying in town longer. "What I should say is fining for parking because what most people experience when they go to the car park is this dread of being late for their scratch card and getting a 60 fine. It is absolutely, outrageously punitive and I favour a system which we have in most other town centres now, where you pay for what you use. You pay at the end of your shopping trip which means that if you meet someone in town you want to have a chat with you don't have to say 'I'm going to break this off' because you're worried about getting a 60 fine. I think what I will be looking for in the transport policy is a clear timescale for the delivery of a pay on foot system," said Constable Crowcroft.

Town Centre Manager Richard McKenzie thinks it is bad for shoppers and is in fact driving people away from town. "I detest pay cards, I think they're a confusing thing, I think our visitors don't understand pay cards and I think there is no surprise hardly anywhere in the world use a pay card system. I don't believe we're doing the best thing for our revenues because I think revenues would increase as people use the car parks for a longer time. I don't think it is at all shopper friendly and as a retailer I always disliked them as I felt we were just driving people out of town.," said Mr McKenzie. He also said the fine for overstaying your pay card duration wasn't right and in fact was higher than someone who had parked on the street illegally. "I totally concur with the fine which is not inline with parking illegally on the street, so you can park illegally on the street in a dangerous manner and not incur the same level of fine," said Mr McKenzie.

When asked if more should be done to restrict the amount of traffic in St Helier, instead of helping people park more easily, Constable Crowcroft said you need to do more about getting into town without a car first. "You cannot restrict traffic penetration into the town centre without providing the cheap regular link from the car parks and so on into the town centre. I think there is hope for a town hopper to make a come back," said Constable Crowcroft. He also said there was a problem with people not easily able to use a car or a bike. "I think one has to admit that there are a lot of commuters who have very complicated lives. They juggle their jobs with their children and they provide a chauffer service after work as well. Not everybody is able to get on a bike or a bus and some people are not physically able to use a bus or a bicycle to get to town. Having said that there is no doubt that the island is not taking up the green alternatives as much as they could be. Once people discover how easy it is to walk to work or cycle to work or get to school that way the knock on benefits are huge in terms of their health and the cost to the islands health service in the longer term," said Constable Crowcroft.

But even if you do manage to get people on the bus, the Constable said they need to be made bigger first. "We need busses we can actually sit in, that are more frequent than the current ones but there is a big price tag to that and I can see the Treasury Minister saying 'who's going to pay for it'," said Constable Crowcroft.
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The parish of St Helier
Website
www.sthelier.je
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