A DISGRUNTLED driver has claimed he was ‘ripped off’ when he used a hospital car park in Portsmouth.
Gary Brown, of Morelands Road, Purbrook, has hit out at St Mary’s Hospital for having ‘inadequate’ signs in its parking facility.
The row erupted after the 55-year-old had visited the Milton hospital for a minor operation to remove a lump on his arm.
When his partner, Clare Marriott, collected him, she paid £1.50 for a ticket at the Milton Road site’s new parking machine – not realising there was a brief 20-minute grace period for those collecting patients.
There are signs placed up around the hospital’s car park advising people about this.
However, Mr Brown claims these are too small and are nowhere near the payment terminals at the facility.
Speaking to The News, he said: ‘I think it’s a rip-off. We got charged £1.50 for three-and-a-half minutes.’
The facility, which is overseen by Total Parking, was last year fitted with a new automatic number plate reader, which tracks cars as they enter and leave the site. It’s a system that is similar to the NCP car park behind the Cascades Shopping Centre.
Mr Brown said he thought every person parking at the site needed to register for a ticket and that he would not have to pay as he had not spent the minimum time in the car park.
‘The thing is there are these big signs saying you will be fined £50 if you don’t get a ticket, but the sign telling you that you don’t have to pay if you’re dropping someone off is really small,’ he added.
‘It just really isn’t clear. This is something that needs to change.’
Mr Brown said he is not looking for a refund for his £1.50 ticket. Instead he is hoping to raise awareness of the parking situation at St Mary’s to ensure other drivers don’t make the same mistake.
‘They really need to change the signs there to make it more clear for people,’ he said.
‘This is just not clear that you can drive in, drop somebody off and pick someone up for free.
‘All people can see is a big board saying there’s a £50 fine if they don’t go to the machine.’
Total Parking was unavailable for comment.