The vast majority of drivers believe that private parking firms should be more tightly regulated to root out rogue operators.
In a poll by the RAC 93 per cent of those questioned backed a Private Member’s Bill calling for better regulation of private parking companies, with 81 per cent saying that such firms have a bad reputation.
The Parking (Code of Practice) Bill, proposed by Sir Greg Knight MP received its second reading in the House of Commons last week and looks likely to pass after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government would back its passage through Parliament.
If passed into law, the Bill could introduced stringent new rules to regulate private parking operators and punishments for any companies breaching those rules. These could extend to banning them from obtaining data from the DVLA or issuing charges, effectively putting them out of business.
According to the survey, the biggest complaints among motorists relate to disproportionate charges for breaching the car park’s rules, hidden or hard to read signs carrying the terms and conditions, the high cost of parking and the aggressive debt collection policies of some operators.
Asked what they would most like to see the Bill deliver, 81 per cent of drivers cited a national standard on signs outlining parking rates and consequences of breaking the rules. Seventy-eight per cent want a parking regulator which enforces a code of practice and three-quarters (74 per cent) want fines, or parking charge notices, to be capped.
More than 80 per cent of drivers want national standards for private car park signage
Seventy-two per cent also said they would welcome the introduction of a central national system to appeal against parking charge notices.
The RAC, which has repeatedly called on the Government to introduce better regulation of the private parking sector, welcomed Sir Greg’s bill when it was first put before Parliament in July 2017.
RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: “The motorists we questioned expressed very strong views about the practices of private parking companies, presumably based on numerous unfortunate experiences so it is excellent news that the Government will support Sir Greg Knight’s Bill into law.
“The RAC has long campaigned for such a code to be introduced so we are hopeful this will lead to a better experience for everyone who uses car parks run by private parking companies.
“Importantly, this Bill will facilitate a set of national guidelines which we hope will make the appeals’ process simpler, tighten access to the DVLA database and bring higher standards to a sector which clearly has a poor reputation among motorists.”