Friday, 10 June 2011

Coach Parks - Are They A Sign Of The Times?

Is it just me or are coach parks and car parks becoming a nirvana for signs? they have been creeping in over the past few years, but now there seems to be an avalanche.

It shows the exciting life of a bus driver, that I have the time to go around places counting signs. Take Carlisle for example. in many ways they are have an excellent city council who do their utmost to attract visitors by offering plenty of coach parking and, unusually it is free.

A by-product of this seems to be a sudden increase in the number of barriers, railings, speed bumps, cctv cameras and signs. So now there are:-

1 Lorries - No Parking

2 'Out'

1 Coaches Turn Left

6 Maximum Stay With A Disabled Badge 3 Hours

1 Toilet

7 CCTV Zone

1 Have You Paid And Displayed

1 Coaches Free

3 Pay And Display (accompanied by long and involved instructions, rules and fees)

1 DANGER Overhead Live Wires

2 Police Park Mark (Safer Parking) Advertisments

1 No Entry

1 Littering Is Illegal

1 To Leave Car Park When barriers Closed Drive Slowly Towards The Barrier For Automatic Opening

1 Danger 400 Volts

2 Welcome To...

1 Cars only - Left, Cars, Coaches, caravans - Right

2 Recycle Now banners on lamppost

1 Area Liable  To Flooding - Environment Agency

That's 36 signs in a smallish area. That's ignoring direction signs, street signs and various markings written in white paint on the tarmac. This seems to be prevalent everywhere I take the bus. There is so much reading of signs to do. Miss them at your peril, because most contain some legal clause which tells you what to pay.

The lawyers have been busy in other places too. I remember when it all started in the mid-1990's. I saw a new notice from the Council's legal department in one town. It more or less said - when you park here it will cost you £100 unless you put the correct money in the machine for the designated amount of time. Very clever. Instantly they had the ability to issue £100 parking fines to anyone who overstayed their welcome.

That's why I like Carlisle, ignoring their love affair with the common sign. There is no pressure. The parking wardens and council workers are always helpful and friendly and they seem to want tourists to visit.

Other greedy councils who charge extortionate coach parking charges should send a deputation to the city to see how things should be done properly. Then there wouldn't be the problem of buses sitting in lay-by's around the perimeter of their towns.

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