Monday, November 14, 2016

Have you parked in Brighton recently?

For the first time in a while, a serious entry.

Have you parked at a pay and display machine using the Pay By Phone app, in Brighton since 1/11/16 ? If so, please read on and share. You MAY have been seriously over charged!

Before travelling to Brighton last week I looked up the parking fees, so I knew what to expect.
On Tuesday I parked on Madeira Drive for 4 hours, paying via the Pay By Phone app as recommended to make it swift and simple. I was charged £11 (plus 40p booking fee). And thought nothing more of it.

Parking again on Friday, and knowing the expected price was £7.20 (plus booking fee), but to my alarm I was charged £16.40 (inc booking fee), When my friend arrived I warned him that I had paid more than we were expecting. As he had not yet set the app up, he used the meter, and was charged, yup, £7.20.

So it turns out, the tariffs which changed for Brighton and Hove on the 1st Nov, have NOT been updated via the app. As a result of this, I have been over charged by £15.60. Have you been over charged too?

I am currently trying to get a response from B&H Parking re this. On Twitter I was informed that an error had been found and rectified on the system. This unfortunately does not mean I get an automatic refund.

So, I am writing this, and making it known, so anyone else who has parked in one of B&H's zones, and paid by app, or even maybe ANY parking area controlled by Pay By Phone , it is possible that you may have been over charged. So I would recommend you check your receipt against the online published parking tariff for where you parked, just in case.

I am £15 out of pocket, and that's just one car. How many more paid by app over the past 10 days, and how much has been taken? Does the money get passed on to B&H, or does Pay By Phone just pass on the correct charge? So many questions right now.


After being contacted by Pay By Phone via Twitter, I was initially told by them that there was no issue with the rates at the locations.
"The rates are correct at both Madeira Drive locations and have been correct since the seasonal change on 1st November."

However after an investigation, and a very detailed explaination of what had happened, they replied again with the following.

through my investigations, i have found that we have two locations that cover Madeira drive (85325 & 85327). It appears that 85325 was amended correctly ready for the change on 1st November. However, 85327 was incorrectly left on the summer rates until we were notified by B&H Council of this error on Friday morning (pre-9am) when it was then changed to the winter tariffs.

i have therefore arranged for both of your sessions to be partially refunded so £8.80 and £6.80 have been refunded back to you today. we have also pulled off a list of all transactions which went through at the Summer rate from 1/11-10/11 and are arranging for the over payments to be refunded via our finance team. we will ensure each customer affected receives an sms to advise them of this error.

Thank you to Pay By Phone for their openness and honesty on this matter. I hope this is a very isolated incident, and checks are made to ensure this has not occurred elsewhere.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Cyclists....Light up for winter!

Each year I am perplexed at the number of people who take to the roads of London, in the winter, in dark clothing and no lights. Expecting to stand out against the darkness of the evening. Cold, wet evenings, slippery roads, ignoring red lights, barreling through junctions. OK they are not all that bad, but surely it is worth being seen, whatever kind of cyclist you are?

With lights getting better and better, and much more affordable, as well as so many options of hi-vis clothing out there to be chosen from. Anything from lycra to casual / fashionable, there is no real reason not to at least make an effort to stand out from the darkness of the night.

This time last year I took up cycling in a more serious way than ever before. Choosing carefully, I have made sure I have the right gear to be seen, regardless of what environment and conditions I am riding in. Busy roads, to country lanes, I am aware of what I need to do to be seen and give myself a better chance.

Sadly, as the year has progressed, and my cycling has increased, so has my frustration. Firstly for having to share the road with such mindless imbeciles, refusing to stop at crossings, putting rear lights on the front of their bikes, and even riding with a helmet on.... the WRONG WAY AROUND! Yes, its true. They went to all that trouble to buy one, and can't work out which way it goes on!
Then of course there are helmet carriers. Bought a helmet, never leave home without it, but just carry it as an accessory on their handlebars. Go figure!

Then when I am driving, especially in the evening in traffic, there are the cyclists who just don't want to be seen. Checking mirrors like a paranoid freak won't help you spot one of these idiots. Weaving through traffic, no lights, dark clothing, then just swerving across your path to keep moving. I admire the fact that they are willing to ride in such conditions. I for one would not put myself there. There is no enjoyment in commuter cycling, especially in town. Buy some bloomin lights for heaven sakes!
Here, save yourself some money AND your life at the same time.

Amazing value from Chain Reaction Cycles Front and rear lights, Lezyne 400XL and the Lezyne Micro Rear light... Fantastic lights, huge saving, and maybe an early Xmas gift to yourselves Just £19.99

Take a moment to think how quickly you can change direction and speed on your bike. Now consider how quickly that picture with you in it, with no lights on, is changing for the motorists your are mixed in with. With lights, they can see you and will take a second look. Without, you are just part of the darkness, and pose no risk. Small lights give you a chance of being seen. Lights like this set make you far more noticable, and I say  that as a motorist who is constantly looking around me for fellow cyclists, not wanting to endanger them. But still they come, and surprise me with their ability to pop up like a duck at a fairground shooting range.

Even hi-vis clothing doesn't cost a fortune, certainly not an arm and a leg, the price you physically may pay if you get tangled in a car.

So please, as a cyclist, motorist, and street runner... Make yourself visible to everyone you share the road with . "It wasn't my fault" doesn't repair broken bones, bring you back to life, or change what happened. Give everyone a chance to get home safely this winter. Be seen!