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Thursday, March 08, 2007


Doing a few simple sums

Now I’ve had some time to think on my days off, I was walking my dog through town and stopped across the road near one of my regular patrol areas. A thought occurred to me about what one of the guys was saying before we left for patrol the other morning.

Mike was harping on about how he always felt under pressure to ‘get so many tickets a day’; because he felt it ‘paid our wages’. Now in our area there’s (Officially) no bonuses or quotas per se for how many tickets issued but if your ‘averages’ are down, it doesn’t look good at your yearly appraisal.

Now speaking for myself I’m glad old Mister Average (Me) isn’t on commission because he’d starve some weeks if he was. Hell, if no-one’s breaking the rules you can’t book ‘em and one guy (before my time) almost got sacked for ‘inventing’ parking tickets that never were.

After I returned home I pondered the mathematics of parking. I’d counted the bays, and then worked out that these bays are approximately in use for 70% of the time from eight am when the restrictions kick in until close of play at six pm. Most people pay for their parking and most use more than ten minutes less than their allotted time.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that there are thirty bays each taking £1 an hour. Over a period of a restriction day (10 hours) that’s around £30 an hour for 70% of the ten hour restriction day. That works out at £210 a day steady revenue form those thirty spaces. Let’s say £1470 a week, maybe knocking off £25 a week for non payers, which leaves us with a remainder of £1445.00

Alternatively, let’s have a think about the ‘Tickets mean revenue’ argument; with an average of maybe One or two parking tickets issued in this area per day. Mondays and Tuesdays you might catch one a day, Wednesdays and Thursdays you might find two maybe three to book and Fridays three or four, but Saturdays and Sundays you might book five or six. So over the week, we can postulate around twenty tickets will be issued for contraventions in this area. Total ‘Value’ at £60 per time; £1200.

Half of those tickets will be paid early without a whisper, thus qualifying for the 50% discount which brings in £300, thus ‘losing’ £300 of the grand total. The rest will be challenged with varying degrees of success or ignored completely, with an average overall ‘cancellation rate’ of 13%. Now each parking ticket issued and challenged incurs an approximate administrative cost of more than 50% of its value. Even those that are paid promptly ‘loses’ around a fifth of its monetary value purely in administrative costs (Time of Patrol / Admin staff for issuing, processing and filing etc.) If a challenge goes to NPAS, that can wipe out the entire £60, if and when it gets paid. If the Challenger pays up within the extended discount period after an adjudication, the Council ends up making a ‘loss’ of £30 per ticket issued.

From what I can ascertain; around 10% of tickets go to the bailiffs after Northampton County Court and half the time they can’t find the person who the ticket was issued to (Or there is some reason they can’t pay). This means something like half of the remainder never gets collected. Call it 5% non payment overall which gets ‘written off’.

Now working on the aforementioned on a purely simplistic level; 18% of tickets issued will never be paid, which will give you a total of £492.00 as the actual sum raised from the issue of all those parking tickets. Most of this will ‘disappear’ in administrative charges. On the other hand, the steady £1445 a week from the thirty bays goes straight into the Council coffers, comfortably paying four Parking enforcers wages for that week. Week in, week out.

Now multiply the number of spaces by several hundred and apply the same logic. Then add in all the off street revenue at around 80% of the on street prices to the tune of well over four thousand spaces that we patrol. Now add a few thousand residents permits and yearly parking permits. This pays for Parking Services salaries (Office and patrol), plus monies for new equipment to replace the old and knackered stuff. Repainting road markings (Whenever that happens) and parking restrictions, and a whole lot more. It doesn’t take a leap of genius to conclude that our section of the Council is entirely self financing and actually ends up subsidising the council tax payers (Of which I happen to be one).

Working upon the above figures, I reckon that so long as I’m out on patrol and ‘encouraging’ people to be honest, it doesn’t matter how many parking tickets I do or don’t issue, so long as the steady revenue from the parking spaces keeps flowing. That’s what really pays my wages, not issuing parking tickets.

Upon reflection, I think it might be a smart career move to lease some land near the town centre, stick up some pay and display signs, set up a pay and display machine and watch the cash just roll on in. It’s got to be better than working for a living.


Anonymous Dave, Woking (aka Chewie) said...

Surely your "value" is most notably the removal of idiots parking where they shouldn't, obstructing the free flow of traffic. Aiding commerce etc to at least try to run smoothly.


Saturday, March 10, 2007 8:22:00 pm  

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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