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Home   Ashford   News   Article

New ticket system traps Jeremy Shirley of Victoriana Nursery Gardens, Challock, in Ashford's William Harvey Hospital car park

22 February 2014
by Suz Elvey

Jeremy Shirley had an appointment at the hospital last week and took a ticket from the new barriers on his way into the car park.

However, when he tried to pay for his ticket after leaving the hospital he ran into problems.

Jeremy Shirley from Victoriana Nursery Gardens in Challock

Jeremy Shirley from Victoriana Nursery Gardens in Challock

The Challock pensioner, whose family runs the village's Victoriana Nursery Gardens, explained: “I put the ticket in and the machine said I had to pay £2.20 so I put that amount in.

“It then said I had to pay a further £1. I put another £1 in but when the ticket came out it said it should only have cost £2.20.”

Mr Shirley found a member of staff but instead of easing the situation the grandfather said the man only made things worse.

The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford

The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford

He continued: “He asked me whether I had put a fake £1 coin in the machine! That was like a red rag to a bull. I was absolutely livid.

“I spent 15 minutes trying to get my £1 back and there is only a 20-minute grace between paying for parking and having to leave the car park.”

Mr Shirley then spent another 30 minutes sitting in his car queueing to get out of the car park.

Jeremy Shirley

Jeremy Shirley

“People were more or less queueing from the entrance,” he said.

“Predictably by the time I got to the gate the barrier wouldn’t accept my ticket. I had to get out of the car, press the button and explain who I was so they would open the barrier for me.

“There were seven or eight tickets on top of the box next to the barrier so I wonder how many other people this has happened to.”

William Harvey Hospital

William Harvey Hospital

The new system involves taking a ticket when entering the car park and paying before leaving based on how long the driver has spent at the hospital.

Under the old system people paid for a set period up front.

Matt Hogg from East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said: “I’m sorry to hear of Mr Shirley’s recent difficulties. With any new system there will always be some bedding in and we’re grateful when visitors are able to feedback any difficulties they encounter.

“The tickets Mr Shirley spotted on top of the barrier box would have been left by previous visitors as the barrier will not raise without taking the ticket out. This is not a problem with the system.

“Since introducing pay-on-foot last year many of our visitors have benefited from cheaper parking charges and not needing to worry about expiring tickets and they now only pay for the time they are parked at the hospital.”

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