Over the winter I rode a lot more than the previous winter. I enjoyed the positive comments about my appearance, eating healthy & forking out less for petrol but what was bugging me was my direct debit car parking payment. Every month my organisation takes out £28 from my salary for the priviledge of being able to park my car 24/7. When the financial wizard who worked out a tiered payment structure for staff the assumption that those who work full time & paid at my grade could afford this and on the face of it it works out to be cheaper than the daily tarrif of £1.60. It’s convenient, avoids the hassle of finding the correct amount of money to pay the daily fee and therefore appears to be reasonable value. On the basis that I would park my car at work 5 days per week, this works out to £1.40 per day.
But (there is always a “but” & this is a big one) when I did the maths, this became a lot more than I was prepared to pay. You see, I work full-time but only attend work 4 days per week condensing my hours by working longer on some days. This is a nice arrangement for me, more family and also the organisation. Added to this, of these 4 days I would cycle 2-4 days per week. If I cycled only 2 days per week (and therefore freeing up a car space for others), this works out costing me £3.50 per day. Then, as a result of an increasingly over burdened car parking capacity it was decided after a protracted “consultation” with staff that as the organisation can no longer “subsidise” parking. Subsidised?! I thought that they owned the land. The monthly payment tarrif is going up to £43 (thats a 53% increase by the way). Based on the above 2 days per week scenario I was now being asked to pay £2.15 per day. And for what? A pot holed, over used car park where we get blocked in and treated like s#*t by the contracted security staff (who are really only glorified car parking attendants & seem to do little else).
After an incendiary email to the clowns who decided on this change, I have decided to opt out of monthly direct debits and pay £2.50 on a daily basis if and when I have to park at work which I anticipate based on my winter riding & the impending summer will be rare. My school run commitments have changed so I can actually ride in all 4 days now. Apparently we’re moving into the 21st Century and we will soon be able to use a debit card for payment rather than having to plan on having the correct cash each day’s parking. During the staff “consultation” I championed salary sacrifice cycle to work schemes, applauded the staff changing facilities and asked what is the incentive for people who want to ride to work other than personal betterment. After all, we free up spaces for people, apparently have less sick time and are more efficient at work arent we? Surely this is a benefit to the organisation and they should be encouraging this as a solution to the problem? At this point, while I feel great for an hour after arriving at work, it generally makes me less of a grump than I would otherwise be or even a fraction less cynical about things. There was no answer to this other than to offer me a daily parking tariff option with the promise of the machines accepting debit cards in the future. So I cancelled my monthly payment, surrendered my permit and so far in April apart from today have not driven to work.
I didn’t pay the daily tarrif today either-the payment machine is broken, much like the energy & creativity dedicated to solving the car parking issue…