It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Bad idea – 1

Posted by chrisrick13 on June 13, 2010

It is obvious: I have a lot of bad ideas.

I am in a new job and have little time at the moment.  However I am keen to start my ideas thread if only to see the even better ideas that come back at me.  I have quite a few, but I can start with an old favourite of mine, get it out the way as part of the idea thread, and move on.

My local bank branch used to be a short walk away.  15 years ago they closed it and the nearest branch is a car drive away.  I could walk it, but it would take to much time.  When I get to the high street I can park in a side road next to the bank on a yellow line or down the road a ways in a council car park.

I reckon I have averaged a visit a week for that time which is 750.  Call it 700.  By parking outside the bank I have avoided £350 in car park charges and saved two 5 minute walks, which is about 5 days of my life.  If a meter-maid catches me it will be a £30 fine.  I can afford quite a few of those before I am behind the curve and in 15 years have not been caught once..

Suppose that the fine was upped to £100.  I think I might have opted for the car park.  If it was £300 I certainly would have.  If my car would be crushed for the offence then I certainly would not illegally park.  This is someone else’s idea because car crushing makes the penalty proportionate for your income.  If you drive a Ferrari the cost is much more than if you drive a Nissan Micra, and matches your means quite well.  It is very simple that if the penalty for an action is not appropriate it is ignored.  Along with this I could start to moan about not enforcing regulations.  Do not make a regulation unless you are prepared to enforce.  Not only will it be ignored, but it will dull people’s response to other regulations.

Therefor, big illegal parking fines will cut down illegal parking.  But it costs money to catch them and extract the money (better than crushing as the hard pressed government can get some much needed cash from illegal parkers.)

There is a way to stop illegal parking overnight and at little cost.  Introduce the death penalty.  Have just half-a-dozen wardens and put all sorts of rumours out about where they are operating.  After the first execution there would never be another illegally parked car…apart from suicide attempts.

It isn’t going to happen though I do know a magistrate I could try and persuade.  My point is that there ought to be some other mechanism out there that would have a similar effect.

Edward de Bono had an idea that was implemented in Australia somewhere.  The population could park their cars anywhere except for some places where safety was important.  To be allowed to park they had to have their headlights on main beam.  The wardens monitored safety places with zeal and a couple drove round looking for parked cars with no headlights on.  If they were off they were offending by staying too long and ran their battery out or just didn’t put them on.

That was some time ago.  There is a new twist to this.  Simply allow people to send in a picture of the front of a car with no headlights on to the parking wardens.  Just click on the Blackberry camera and text the picture.

I prefer the death penalty.

It is obvious: I have a lot of bad ideas and some of them are quite good.

3 Responses to “Bad idea – 1”

  1. Mark said

    Parking fines are only partly intended to discourage illegal parking. They are partly intended to raise revenue for cash-strapped councils. So they can’t be set too high or that would discourage people TOO much and harm revenue.

    If the penalty for illegal parking was death, what is the penalty for murdering a traffic warden? Can’t be much worse, so everyone caught would logically kill the warden and tear up the evidence. So nobody would ever work as a warden, except suicides.

    How about I take a picture of the front of your fully-illuminated car, Photoshop in some switched-off headlights and sent that in?

    It is obvious, there are no easy solutions 😉

    • You are right about the money. Maybe increase tax rate by 1% for every offence, or reduce benefits.

      My thought was that there would perhaps be one hanging and that would be all that was needed. After that they could just march around so that there would be continual reports of where they were. Perhaps with a dozen SAS for the obvious ones. There would also be a group of secretive wardens who went around snapping cars with hidden cameras and doing the paper work later…but they wouldn’t actually do anything or even have to exist.

      The thought of photoshop had occurred to me, but I have a solution in another idea.

      What is important is that principle could perhaps work elsewhere.

      You are right that there are no easy solutions…I told you they were bad ideas.

  2. Bill said

    Perhaps parking fines should be seen as just another ‘means tested’ tax? You have to have a certain amount of capital for a car, and if you park in the wrong place presumably be willing to take the risk on a fine?

    As Mark says the aim is to raise cash, so they set the threshold low enough to tempt the maximum number of people to take the risk but high enough to generate a decent amount of revenue (once the wardens have been paid for). Also set an early payment discount to stop people arguning the toss over them…

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