You would not believe how many blogs there are about parking tickets!
New York Parking Ticket – it has been running for 5 years, offers free ebooks and tests on your knowledge (I scored just 2 out of 12 but it is based on New York rules)
Martin Lewis’s blog on money saving – he does seem to get a lot of tickets!
The Expired Meter covering parking and other driving offences in Chicago
Cabsnaptrap, a cab-drivers campaign to rid London of parking cameras, or at least hidden ones
You can probably guess the reason I was looking – I had a parking penalty notice 😦
It actually wasn’t that recent – just letting my embarrassment cool down. My family will delight in telling you this is not my first parking offence, but it was the first one in Bermuda and for some reason I felt so much worse about this one than I ever did about those earned in London.
I must have nudged shoulders with the traffic warden walking back to the car; from the time on the ticket it had been written just 2 minutes before I arrived. I think I actually flushed with embarrassment, though it could be that time of life and it was a hot day, but I fumbled into the car hoping fervently that nobody had seen me. I don’t really know enough people in Hamilton for that to be a likely risk, but it was just down the road from my husband’s office so I drove off quite quickly just in case.
The car behind me had a ticket too, but he definitely deserved one, he wasn’t displaying any voucher or easy park, but I was cross that we received the same penalty when I had at least tried to obey the rules. Or had I? OK, yes I did know I was cutting it fine….well, maybe I knew I had over run just a little …..Yes, I admit it, I was cross because I had been caught.
The car is listed as belonging to my husband and I hadn’t decided when or whether I was going to tell him so paying it as soon as possible was the obvious plan. Just how one pays a parking fine is a whole other story. I had just 20 minutes until our agreed “pick-up time” (only permitted one car per family on the island we had been faced with a choice of wobbly-husband-on-moped or wife-as-taxi ) and my new plan was to pay ticket now and confess over wine later.
In London, and probably in most counties in UK, one can pay parking fines online, also any other traffic offences. They will even give you a souvenir photograph (I am so tempted to use the image of my daughter driving in a bus lane here, but I am a nice Mother and I am not sure she has told her Father yet). Not so in Bermuda, no easy faceless payment system, I expect the shame attached to attending in person is part of the punishment. I had absolutely no idea where to go.
As I have pictures of most other events of my Bermuda adventure it is an odd lapse that I did not take a picture of the parking ticket! However, in small print on the reverse side it informs you that cashiers are found at the Dame Lois Browne Evans Building in Court Street. Now that would be helpful if I knew the whereabouts of Court Street.
Hamilton is laid out on a grid system – a small one with just four roads each way it seems, but given I knew the one at the front is called Front Street and the one with the Church is Church Street then it couldn’t be too hard to find …….15 minutes of my 20 now disappeared in one way system and traffic lights as I crawled past the police station, Chinese take-out and lawyers offices – all essential services but not what I was looking for. On my second drive past Sessions House (on my right) I was going to turn left – turned right last time which merely gave me a 360 degree view of the place – and by luck rather than judgement I had found Dame Lois Browne Evans Building.
It took me one more circuit to find a parking space as most of the spaces along that road seem to be reserved for police, and then another couple of minutes to set my Easy Park meter (!).
I felt 100% guilty passing through the bag-search security, kept my eyes down and reached a cashier’s desk. She could not have been nicer, I wish I knew her name, she expressed amazement that I was paying the ticket on the day it was issued (actually within the hour!) and whispered that I could have left it to the end of the month – No, I certainly could not have lived with that, part of me was terrified that parking fines might be enough to deport me back to UK and I haven’t quite finished having an adventure yet.
My phone rang. Husband. “On my way”
My plan to tell him after supper lasted all of the few seconds it took to swap places and let him drive home (we always do that, nothing to do with the parking ticket) and I wasn’t sure whether to cry or get angry. He laughed!
I guess in the grand scheme of things it really was a quite a small issue. Looking at the positive, I have contributed to the city’s target of “generating new revenue to resurface city streets” (Royal Gazette Oct 2013 on the City of Hamilton’s new parking charges) But $60 for 5 minutes extra parking seems quite steep!
Parking in Hamilton
Bermuda Road Traffic Act 1947:
Parking = the standing on a road of a vehicle whether occupied or not
Control of parking of vehicles
….. Subject as hereinafter provided, the parking on roads of vehicles or …..
… Any person who parks any vehicle in contravention of any notice mentioned commits an offence against this Act.