As a follow up to yesterday’s expose’ of Westminster’s alleged illegal charges being forced on Taxi drivers, the case was taken up by representatives of the Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA).
At first Westminster were adamant that the charges were correct and they sent the email posted below to back up their claim to a driver who had parked on a ‘Taxis Only’ bay, displaying a sign that lays out the charge as £1.00 an hour, with a maximum stay of up to 2 hours. There is no mention on the signage of any surcharge.
Our reference: 10948725
Dear Mr Etheridge
Your case reference: 10948725
Thank you for your comments. The Diesel surcharge has been in place since 2017 in parking zone F (Hyde Park, Marylebone and Fitzrovia). After the success of the trial in this zone, the Council carried out a public consultation to expand the surcharge city-wide, in line with the commitment made in our 2018 Air Quality Manifesto.
This consultation, held between July and September 2018, received over 1300 responses, with clear support for expanding the diesel surcharge across the city, as quickly as feasible.
Concerted efforts have been made to widely communicate the changes with as many users as possible. Notification was posted on our website: (https://www.westminster.gov.uk/changes-parking-fees-and-charges) from 5 July 2019 with further updates added on 5 and 12 August 2019.
A formal Notice of Variation was published in the Gazette on 8 July 2019. In addition, text messages were sent to 116,669 RingGo and Passport customers who have paid to park in Westminster since 25 June 2019, the content of the message was as follows: 'Westminster City Council is expanding its pay-to-park diesel surcharge city-wide from 5 Aug 2019
Advanced purchase notification was placed on our IVR, App and web payment systems from 5 August 2019 informing customers of the upcoming changes. All pay to park conditions of use signs, borough-wide, have now had stickers, containing details of the surcharge, affixed to them as appropriate.
(This statement is incorrect, as you can see from the image below)
The diesel surcharge supports Westminster's commitments to a healthier and greener city, as set out in our City for All and Greener City Action Plan strategies. Further information, which helps to demonstrate the support and rationale behind the scheme, is available on our website at:
Customer Relations Team.
The ITA then made statements on social media accusing Westminster of illegally obtaining funds from drivers bank account and stated that Westminster should prepare for a series of demonstrations on the scale of the Parliament Square campaign.
Within an hour, Westminster had a change of mind and this subsequent email was them dispatched to the complainant.
Our reference: 11027525
Dear Mr Etheridge,
Your case reference: 11027525
Thank you for your further correspondence received on the 19 August 2019.
The diesel surcharge does not apply to taxi only pay-to-park bays and, after a further review, I can confirm you were incorrectly charged when parking at location 8942, on 12 August 2019.
Action has been taken to ensure that the surcharge is not levied against your vehicle when parking at this location again, in the future.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused. The amount of £0.50p will be returned to your payment card, as soon as possible, and should be received within the next 3-5 working days.
Customer Relations Team
Below is a series of Tweets cataloging the the events as they unfolded yesterday.
“Danny and I both have recordings on of our phone conversations where the #ParkRight representatives were adament that we should be charged the surcharge. There is more to come of this. #ParkRight are due to call Danny tomorrow.
How many other drivers have been illegaly charged?”
Danny has just come off the phone with @CityWestminster after speaking to their extremely helpful supervisor, Scott.
TAXIS WILL NOT BE CHARGED ANY SURCHARGE ON ANY TAXI REST RANK. LEVC'S MAY PARK ON ANY REST RANK OR PARKING BAY FOR 'UP TO' 4 HOURS, FOR THE PRICE OF 10 MINUTES.
TAXI LEAKS EXTEA BIT :
Again the ITA have come up trumps again, fighting for Taxi drivers rights.
If you have paid a diesel subsidy to Westminster Council for parking, contact them through their website and demand a refund as you have been illegally overcharged.