Parking Permit Renewal Blues
Editor gets cantankerous over efforts to renew
As editor of ActonW3.com I am allowed the occasional rant. I know I have had rants before (I can remember ranting about rubbish in Acton Park, for instance), but I’m not often driven to public rants so if you’re not a fan of rants then please read no further.
Today’s rant is aimed at Ealing Council Parking Services with a side-swipe at Royal Mail for good measure.
I realised this week that my Zone K1 parking permit is due to expire at the end of June. Normally, I would have received a renewal notice but nothing has appeared yet. I therefore began to try and talk to someone at Parking Services to have a discussion about why my permit renewal form has not yet arrived, whether it is on its way and whether I can renew on the phone using a credit card.
After 10 attempts (this is not an exaggeration) at calling 020 8825 6677 which is the listed number for Ealing Council Parking Services, I decided to give up. Mostly, the line was busy but three or four times I listened optimistically to the phone ringing for half a minute before the disappointing news that a posh-sounding lady imparted to me: “sorry, there is no reply.”
My on-line experience was equally unsuccessful. A facility exists to renew your permit on-line. It appears to require a pin which I don’t seem to have. Does anyone else have one, I wonder? However, after several goes at putting in different versions of my permit number, I was told it was ‘unable to find my existing permit’ and so I gave up.
But the Royal Mail website is not designed to tell you simply what stamps you need to put a package in the mail. It is too intent on giving you information about guaranteed next day deliveries and personal mailing needs. And I felt in need of some air, so set off to see Mr Taank in Churchfield Road who misses his post office so much that he has opened a shop where you will find scales and stamps and everything you could possibly need in order not to lose even a minute of your life frowning at the Royal Mail website trying to work out where they have hidden the price of stamps.
PS: Since returning from my trip, package and contents now consigned to the whim of Royal Mail, I am impressed to report that I’ve received a reply to my email. It didn’t answer all of my questions, but it did confirm that my renewal form had been sent to me – a week ago, asked whether I had still not received it (er no – it hasn’t miraculously appeared in the 2 hours between my sending the email and receiving the reply); and also that in the package I will have been sent my pin. I have asked Ealing Council to let me know – again - when they expect the Parking Services section of their website to be operating and whether they can do anything about the faulty phones. I will report back once I hear from them.
If you are having similar problems with Ealing Council Parking Services, do let me know about it. It might make me feel better.
June 17, 2010