I was recently having a debate with fellow drivers on a forum about Traffic Wardens. The whole conversation started due to a headline someone posted about a warden who had been sacked by their council for refusing to issue tickets and for even warning people of other wardens’ presence. The general feeling from this particular person was ‘good on them, well done’ and it being outrageous he got fired.
I disagreed. Of course he should have been fired as he wasn’t doing the job he was being paid for.
I have had two run-ins with traffic wardens in the past. The first, I was stopped on a yellow line waiting for someone when a warden approached. He stood by my car, pulled out his little machine and started to type. So of course I opened the window to see what they were doing (although I could guess) and I was advised I shouldn’t be waiting there at that specific time of the day and I was to be issued a ticket. So of course I drove off – I might have said something to them before I left – and we both continued our days. Now, I was in the wrong, I shouldn’t have been waiting there as there was at least one signpost saying so. But it was the behaviour of this person who could clearly see me sitting in the car! Why not knock on my window with a polite ‘excuse me sir, you’re not supposed to stop here at this time of the day’. This is what annoys the public.
The second time was very similar. I was in a lesson, my learner driving, and we had just arrived at the test centre.
I then looked around to my left and sure enough the warden was standing next to my car tapping on their little machine!! Again I opened the window and said I was just about to pay. The only response I got was that ‘you’ve been here for a couple of minutes’. Cutting a long story short, I got out my car to head to the pay-machine and I believe I called them ‘pathetic’ to which they said ‘you’re pathetic’. Then I responded with ‘oh go get a proper job’, which I didn’t really mean but isn’t that what you’re meant to say to Traffic Wardens?! In response they then said ‘why don’t you get a proper job’. I realised we weren’t going to get anywhere at all so I got my ticket and they wandered off to annoy someone else.
These make me sound anti Traffic Wardens but I assure you this is not the case. To me they seem to have no people skills whatsoever. On both of these occasions I was sat in my car, the first I was in the wrong yes, and the second I was not. But if I’d got a ticket I doubt there would have been much I could have done about it. If the driver is around to be spoken to then surely they should do just that and give a few words of advice.
It’s when a car is illegally parked with no driver or passengers in sight that I would totally agree with a ticket being issued. An argument put forward was that charges are just too high, ridiculously high at times. Where I have to park for the test centre the charge is £1 for just 30 minutes! They know these spaces are the most convenient so they purposely do it. But, at the end of the day there are usually other spaces nearby, free spaces, both here and almost certainly almost anywhere else you may go, it would just require a little more walking. The next argument was ‘but I was only popping into the shop for a couple of minutes to spend a pound’. Well it doesn’t matter what you intend to do or spend, if you knowingly park illegally, and leave your car, you really have no-one else to blame but yourself. Surely these drivers realise the risk they are taking? So, the annoyance is simply irritation at having been caught.
I did get a ticket once. A few years ago, the road I lived on was being used as a temporary bus route due to the main road being dug up for gas works. A residential road with lots of parked cars so temporary double yellow lines were painted at intervals so vehicles could pass each other. This was only for a couple of weeks but yet, annoying. I got home one night and there was seemingly nowhere for me to park. The time was 10pm, and I was due to leave at 7.30am the next morning so I parked on the lines near my house, thinking traffic wardens wouldn’t start work till 8am at least. How wrong I was! They must have made a special effort to start early that day to catch people like me out and I had a ticket, all down to my own laziness. I could have parked on the next road just a 5 minute walk away but I decided to be lazy, and it proved to be an expensive decision.
I would bet we have all seen someone getting a ticket before and either had a little chuckle to ourselves or thought ‘good’ as it got slapped on their windscreen. Why? Because we all find illegal parking a nuisance. After all it’s as simple as this, if you don’t want a ticket – don’t park there!