Searching for a parking slot can be a battle sometimes regardless of the time of the day. The morning and evening rush hour is one of the busiest times of the day and as a driver in London it’s worth knowing the rules to follow before parking a vehicle, and avoid clocking up a parking fine. I found some clever ways to avoid an unexpected parking fine.
What would you do if you were a visitor in the capital and how could you avoid a parking fine?
Although this might seem obvious, careful planning is required to avoid obtaining a ticket. Look for a car Park close to your destination ahead of time or search for “Pay and display” parking meters nearby. Insert the correct payment in to the machine then a ticket will be dispensed. Display it on your windscreen or dashboard straight away. One of the first questions friends ask me when visiting a venue is “are there parking meters close by or when are the restrictions lifted? In most cases, this is typically between 8:30 am18:30 pm, Monday to Saturday but always check the display signs to confirm the exact times because streets might vary.
Car parks in London:
In Central London, there are car parks in Oxford Street, Park lane, Soho, Leicester Square, Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and more.
Parking at London Gatwick Airport
Parking at London Heathrow
Download Free Parking App on Android
Download Free Parking App on IPhone
Typical road markings to look out for and what they mean:
- Single Yellow lines mean no loading or unloading at the times shown.
- Double Yellow lines mean that parking is not permitted at most times during the day.
- Red Route lines. These roads are significant because they are London’s main routes and the idea behind them is to reduce delays and keep traffic flowing. Stopping and loading on a red route could lead to a fine. I can never work out why motorists park on these lines with a camera nearby.
- The Yellow box junctions help to keep traffic flowing. Never drive in them unless the road is clear or there is a need to turn right.
How do Parking fines work in London?
If a driver has parked a vehicle incorrectly, a parking warden (working on behalf of the London borough where the car has been parked) will spot this and issue a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). Sometimes a vehicle might get clamped. The fee for releasing the clamp could cost around £80 to £130 and payment can be paid online, in person, by phone or by post. But if payments are made within 14 days, then you could qualify for a 50% discount.
Also, for disabled drivers, look out for the Blue Badge scheme-parking concession, but this, might not apply in some boroughs and Central London. Disabled drivers will be able to use the disabled parking bays with the logo on them but check with the borough first.
The Congestion charge, also known as the C Charge was enforced in 2003 and extended in 2007 to ease congestion and reduce high traffic flow in London but I ‘m not sure if the scheme has made a huge impact to the volume of traffic? I can still remember the speculation surrounding it’s enforcement and how many of us thought that there would be less traffic in London if it came into place.
The Congestion charge is £11.50 per day and is in operation in central London between 07:00 and 18:00. However, the cost can be reduced by £1.00 a day with Auto Pay if a vehicle is registered for £10 per vehicle.
Paying close attention to road signs will save you money and time. But how does this work for hire cars? Is a parking permit required for a hire car or courtesy car? With my Zipcar package, this is all included.
One way to easing London’s congestion is to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, encourage car sharing and only allow one vehicle per household, free up extra parking spaces as well as saving the environment.