Sunday 25 November 2012

What a welcome to England

England needs tourists, the Olympics visitors left many months ago and tourism needs to flourish. Last weekend a friend visited us.

She flew to London Luton, now that is not a welcome to England that you would expect. Had she needed a trolley for her baggage unlike most other airports where you put in a coin and get it back, you don't at Luton, they keep it.

My wife went to pay the rather high car park bill for 10 minutes, had she paid with a credit card she would have to pay a fee!

On the way back on Sunday afternoon, unless you drop someone off a 5 minute walk away from the terminal, you have to pay £1. What a difference at France's number 2 airport -Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur.  

Nice Airport photo
 If you are meeting someone, you will get several minutes FREE parking and dropping them, well you just drop them off at the "Kiss and Fly" so simple and very welcoming.

On Saturday they drove to Oxford, my wife had a great problem trying to see where the car park sign was actually pointing and after drriving round the roundabout three times thought it was down Castle Street and drove down there. Unforunately that is meant for buses only, so yesterday our big brother society in Oxford sent a demand for £30 with photagraphic evidence from three cameras. Maybe better signposting to the car parks would be better for tourists?

High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire is a town where there are empty shop units in the shopping centre and they need more visitors. Back in May 2011  I used to park in a car park close to the station. Putting in £5 in cash that would then run through till the next day.

On the 11th May I did this as normal. The machine drops down a ticket and you put it in a visable position inside the car by the windscreen etc. I did this, however somebody had just paid by credit card a couple of minutes before and the receipt was still in the machine. I obviously did not notice that my parking ticket and this receipt were stuck together.

On returning to collect the car later that day there was a parking fine attached to my car. £25 penalty. For a couple of months I tried battling this out with the authorities at Wycombe District Council, they would have none of this, I had displayed the wrong ticket and as you can see from above they look so similar. I even went to Bucks County Council Trading Standard and the District Councillor for car parking, but they would not move on it. In the end I had paid for 24 hours parking, but instead of it being £5 it cost me £30. I have never parked there since.

Wycombe District Council parking wardens are very hot on parking and I was told recently by someone working in a branch of a car parts shop that occasionally a customer has just purchased a new bike for example and needs st stop for a couple of minutes to load into the car. What do the friendly wardens do as the customer tries to get the new bike into their car, they issue a parking fine. Towns like High Wycombe need visitors, however the authorities are putting them off.

On a positive side however last Thursday they were not charging for parking in the Easton Street multi storey car park.

Marlow photo

Marlow by the Thames also comes under Wycombe District Council, however parking is excellent, you can park for periods up to an hour in the High Street and the other main shopping street West Street. Why High Wycombe has to be so different is such a shame as Marlow is a great tourist centre.  

Hopefully the Council does not greedy on parking and puts people off from visiting this town.
Update 3rd December 2012 - London Luton Airport again....

Flew in here by easyJet early yesterday evening. The full plane was on time, however no one about with steps to let passengers out. Approximately 10 minutes later they arrived at the airctaft's front and rear doors.

Went through passport control, plenty of officers and the "human" system was working much faster than the new automated sytem. Then went to collect the luggage. More than half an hour later it finally arrived. Seems like Luton Airport staff were asleep on an early Sunday evening in December. Hope they improve this very poor service when all the visitors fly in for Christmas.