Resident claims new parking scheme in Brent could leave drivers at the mercy of traffic wardens

Diane New fears drivers could be given a ticket because of delays

Diane New fears drivers could be given a ticket because of delays - Credit: Archant

Grandmother left hanging on the phone for 20 minutes while trying to buy a permit

The council’s new virtual parking scheme has been slammed by a resident who fears drivers could be given a ticket while trying to by a permit over the phone.

Diana New, 79, of Linton Road, Queen’s Park, told the Times her grandson was left at the mercy of traffic wardens after she was left hanging on the phone for 20 minutes while trying to buy him a permit.

She said: “It was just press one and press something else and we just went round and round in circles and got through to a phone that died and couldn’t be answered.

“Eventually we got through to a lady and said I’m not blaming you but I’m frustrated.

“By then 20 minutes had gone and the man could have been out there.”

Under the rules of the new system residents must book a permit on the phone or online instead of using scratch cards which will be scrapped in November.

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But residents do not always know when visitors are coming, and must then scramble to book a permit.

Mrs New said: “No one answers the phone and they said ‘we are very busy’ but how long will they be busy while I’m getting a fine?

“It panics me because I don’t like to do the wrong thing or get people into trouble,” she added.

She said she would get her children to book online for her in the future because she found computers hard to use.

“It’s difficult if you are not quick with the computer,” she said, “There must be loads and loads of elderly people like me who’ve got trouble with doing this stuff.”

The council acknowledged the problems with the phone line but claimed their new contactors would iron out the problems.

Cllr Jim Moher, lead member for highways and transportation, said: “with the new Serco contract, they are putting in more staff to deal with the calls.

“The wait shouldn’t be more than a normal period, but we are monitoring this and will try to make sure we would deal with any such situation very sympathetically.”

He added: “in the future we would envisage that this won’t happen.”

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