At the top end of Torbay Rd, Paignton there is a lay-by which is about 40 metres long. The first 20 metres is marked out as a loading bay. That means that only vehicles actually loading or unloading goods can wait in that part of the lay-by. More importantly it means that delivery vans can stop near to the shops they are delivering at and drop the goods you might one day wish to walk in the shop and expect to find on the shelves, not still in a van being driven round and round the block by a driver desperately trying to find some where to park. The second half of the lay-by is marked out in bright yellow paint as a bus stop. That is so buses can pull in off the road so all those people with cars can drive past while all those people without cars, or chose not to use them, can get on the buses at the stops. Most parking places in Torbay Rd are consistently in use, being a busy part of town but the loading bay and the bus stop spend about 90% of the time sitting there empty. It can be tempting just to pull in and hope a bus or a van doesn't want to use the bay while you are there. Now I don't actually have too much of a problem with that; provided the driver remains with the vehicle moves away the moment someone who has a legitimate reason to occupy the space turns up. Parking attendants might have a different point of view to me in this area so don't quote me. The problem comes when the driver wanders off or refuses to move. It means the delivery van driver or the bus driver has to stop in the roadway causing congestion and inconvenience to all passing motorists.
This is where parking attendants come in. They might not be able to magic the offender away but they can charge the driver of the illegally parked vehicle a substantial sum of money for the pleasure of making life a misery for the van driver who has to drive round the block a few times or be forced to carry heavy goods much further than expected, the bus driver, the bus passengers, the passing motorists, the shoppers who's goods aren't in the shop when they should be, the shop keeper who looses a sale, the shop worker who gets laid off because the shop keepers profits have gone down just so some selfish bastard can park where he/she shouldn't.
While we are on about parking attendants or civil enforcement officer as they are called these days. I have heard people say, "Why don't you get a proper job?" to them when that stick a ticket on a car. It is a proper job, those who say the above haven't got the brains they were conceived with. I started driving 50 years ago, driving round Manchester in 1960. It was a nightmare, far worse than it is now, even though there were far fewer cars on the road. So why? Because people used to park anywhere and no one did much about it. People still risk parking illegally to day even though there is a strong chance they could end up paying an £80 fine. Imagine what it would be like in a world without parking attendants. You would have to get up early to get anywhere and I mean really, really early.
Anyway someone parked a coach from the Tallyho Coach company in the loading bay this morning, he didn't get a ticket but the coach behind did. It was also from the Tallyho Coach Company and was parked in the bus stop with no driver to move it should I or a civil enforcement office turn up. A civil enforcement officer turned at the same time I did. Brightened up my day enormously.