Earlier this year, Haringey Council introduced a new parking permit system. This included the great (and for me very positive) leap forward of virtual parking permits.
BU...UT, it appears that something has gone very wrong. In the four discussions on this website over 120 comments have been added about problems people are having with the new system. Local Whatsapp groups are also alight with stories about it.
As it happens, personally, I've had no problems with the system. A couple of months back I renewed my residents' parking permit. Okay, the system may have been a little clunky, but it was okay.
I have a stock of paper visitor permits, which has meant that I haven't had to buy any virtual ones. So, yesterday, in an effort to experience the widely reported problems first-hand, I made a test purchase of a single one-hour visitor permit. And, I have to say, it went without a glitch.
But there are too many complainants to conclude anything other than there must be a significant issue of some sort with the system.
Was my journey easy because I'd previously bought my residents permit through the system? Are people doing anything at their desk that the system designer didn't anticipate?
I had a phone call this morning about this issue from a concerned resident of the borough. Whilst he voiced frustration about the issue, his approach was wholly constructive: his focus was on how to get things fixed.
He suggested that the council actually spend some time speaking with the people experiencing problems buying their permits to get to the bottom of the issue. Perhaps, even invite them in and sit with them at a computer and observe the issue as it happens.
Perhaps you're already on top of this issue, dear council, and you're working furiously with your contractors to fix it. If so, great. But if this is the case, why not tell us?!
In the meantime, we have to assume that you're struggling, and you can't fix things. So, can we the people help?
While I have no particular axe to grind, what was wrong with the old paper system which had been working perfectly well for years ? Perhaps Seema, who seems to be on top of this could explain ?
I agree. It was quick and easy to renew or get permits.
Applying for the old permits didn't work for me - the online system didn't accept some of the evidence I had to upload, and it involved several trips to the library to get it sorted.
Yes something needs to be done please !
can we please have the option of paper permits for the disabled as I am as this is causing me extreme anxiety
Are paper visitor parking permits no longer available? Can they not be purchased if you actually go to CS at Marcus Garvey?
I started the process to create an online parking account today: filled in screen one [Username/password/email] and waited for the confirmation email to arrive so I could complete that process. And waited. And waited. And checked spam and settings.
After an hour I tried again, but I got an email saying [Username] is associated with my email address, so I can't set up a different one. I can't log in, I've tried 'forgot password', but I just get 'Unverified user' when I use that.
So I do exist, but I don't. Absurd. Nor can I buy any permits - ever, using this email address. And I did follow their 'teaching video' to the letter.
So I rang the phone number of doom (so I thought). After a good long wait it was worth it - I was helped beyond the call of duty - not only was the account validated by Haringey/Taranto which was my objective, but I was talked through all the remaining steps to set up a resident's permit and visitors vouchers. Helpful and patient (while driving licence image uploaded) work. I'm grateful and I said so.
Yes, I’d second that: when I rang, twice, I got a very helpful person who initially talked me through aspects of registration, noted the many failures and told me about the work-around of only ordering two visitors’ permits at a time, because the system fails completely if you order the full nine you’re supposed to be able to buy. Given how many calls they must have received, they were amazingly calm and helpful. It’s just a shame that the comments they’ve passed on haven’t led to anyone at Taranto doing anything to fix the problems.
From the cumulative comments it’s hard to believe people are doing something the system designers didn’t anticipate. My problems have mostly been system failures — drop-down address menus that don’t work and addresses not being stored, inability to buy more than two or three visitor vouchers at a time without hitting an error message — as well as design flaws, such as the inability to buy more than one type of voucher (hourly or daily) in the same transaction. None of these problems results from anything other than trying to follow the set procedure. And, as I commented elsewhere, it’s preposterous that there are now three separate Haringey payment databases — the main one, parking permits and online payments — none of which talks to each other and all of which require separate and different log-in details. These are major design flaws, not the result of user error.
I found it tricky originally to register to apply for visitor permits as I didn't at the time have a resident permit. I think the system tries to check you are a resident but I wonder if it can't do that if you're not on the "edited register" of voters?
Then I recently got a car again so needed a resident permit, this was tricky again as it being a new car I didn't yet have the logbook and the system didn't like the other proofs of ownership I tried to upload.
The payment system itself requires entering my address again even though it is stored in the permit system. There's an option to use a known address but the dropdown is empty. I'd guess the integration between the Taranto permit system and the Civica payment system either isn't very good, or is stymied by data protection regulations. The payment system's Find Address function doesn't seem to work when I enter the postcode either.
It's pretty shocking that the system is so hard to use on mobile phone, it must be very dated software. My guess is the supplier doesn't have much incentive to update it or even to fix bugs. The supplier gets recurring revenues, the council saves the salary of one or more backoffice staff who used to administer the paper vouchers, an d the residents just have to struggle with flaky software or else get fined for parking without a permit.
One thing I do like is that you can assign visitor permits but if your visitor leaves early you can deactivate the surplus vouchers. With the old paper system all the scratched cards would have been wasted.
About 20 years ago I worked on bringing in a new planning IT system into a local authority. For an entire 12 months before it went live I had planners testing their end and members of the public testing the public end. I got them to try out every conceivable scenario until it broke, got that particular problem fixed and then tried to break it all over again. I just can’t see that this was done with the system Haringey seem to have simply bought off the shelf.
Having read all the comments about applying for permits, it was with some trepidation that I set about renewing my residents parking permit. My old paper one expires at the end of November so I thought I’d give myself plenty of time and logged in today.
Surprisingly, I found the process relatively easy. The problem occurred when I came to the payment page. I was being charged £31 plus £50 for “second and subsequent permits”. I live on my own and only have one car. I tried this several times and got the same outcome.
Anyone else had the same experience? What should I do next?