All day parking at Grantham Station for early morning commuters costs £11, but for later morning users it is reduced to £7, and I knew from previous experience that the relevant time to qualify for the cheaper rate was 9.30am.
On Friday morning (September 5) I drove to the car park after 9.30am and without feeling I had any need to read the instructions, I activated the machine for the cheaper rate and was instructed to insert my £7 and it dispensed my ticket at 9.36am. The ticket permitted me to use the car park until the early hours of the following day.
Only then did my friend and I read the board and realise that the qualifying time for using the car park at the cheaper rate had changed from 9.30am to 10am. As we had plenty of time before our train to Hull was due at 10.48am we decided it would be unwise to use the car park ahead of the 10am time in case a warden should attend. We immediately left the car park and we completed some business elsewhere, before returning to the car park after 10am and I displayed my apparently valid ticket.
On our return from Hull I found that my car had been issued with a Parking Ticket during the afternoon (£50 fine), not for violating the parking times on the car park, but for ‘displaying a ticket which was invalid because it was purchased before 10am’.
So why did the machine instruct me to insert my £7 at 9.36am and issue me with my ticket validating use of the car park from 10am?
May I suggest that whoever designed and installed the machine is guilty of aiding and abetting my offence.