Chauffeurs in hot water as Portsmouth mayoral car caught parked at bus stop

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DRIVERS chauffeuring the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth in the city's mayoral car have been warned by transport bosses over parking in a bus stop.

The News snapped the Jaguar XF Luxury repeatedly parked at the stop yards away from Councillor Lee Mason’s home in London Road, North End.

A First bus service pulls round the Portsmouth City Council mayoral car, a Jaguar XF Luxury, parked in a bus stop in London Road on September 29. Picture: Habibur Rahman

A First bus service pulls round the Portsmouth City Council mayoral car, a Jaguar XF Luxury, parked in a bus stop in London Road on September 29. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Video footage shows First Bus drivers battling through traffic as they negotiate oncoming traffic and wait to go around the taxpayer-funded vehicle – parked just 150ft away from a car park in Tesco Express.

In just 15 minutes three buses have to pass the car, which cost the council nearly £21,000 between 2015-17.

Former bus driver Patrick Miller, 61, has worked routes across Portsmouth and Gosport for 39 years.

Patrick, from Rowallan Avenue in Gosport, said: ‘If you’ve got anything, even a lorry unloading, it holds you up – it’s a nightmare at the best of times.

The Portsmouth City Council mayoral car, a Jaguar XF Luxury, parked in a bus stop on August 25.

The Portsmouth City Council mayoral car, a Jaguar XF Luxury, parked in a bus stop on August 25.

‘If someone’s parked in a bus stop it’s a no go unless it’s an emergency.

‘From my own many years of experience if someone parked in a bus stop and they’re the Mayor of Portsmouth it’s probably not a good example to set.

‘People will say you can park your car anywhere – and if the Mayor of Portsmouth can do it, why can’t we?

‘It’s not done. Bus stops are for buses to stop at.'

The Portsmouth City Council mayor car, a Jaguar XF, parked at a loading bay in London Road on July 11.

The Portsmouth City Council mayor car, a Jaguar XF, parked at a loading bay in London Road on July 11.

Contacted by The News, Cllr Mason declined to comment claiming there was special dispensation as the mayoress, his mum Sylvia, is disabled.

The car was spotted parked in the bus stop on September 29, August 25 and in a loading bay opposite the bus stop on July 11.

On at least one occasion the mayoress was not involved in any engagements.

A council spokesman said the car was being used for official appointments on each of three occasions.

Councillor Lee Mason

Councillor Lee Mason

‘The mayoral car does not have any special parking privileges,’ the spokesman said.

‘We’ve spoken to the drivers concerned to make sure that such incidents don’t happen again.’

But people who spoke to The News have said it sets a bad example.

Lorry driver Colin Jones, 51, from North End, said: ‘I think that one rule should apply to everyone.

‘Why should the mayor disobey the rules which everyone else follows? Give him a parking ticket, that’s what I say.’

The car is chauffeur-driven only.

The Portsmouth City Council mayoral car, a Jaguar XF Luxury, parked in a bus stop in London Road on September 29.

The Portsmouth City Council mayoral car, a Jaguar XF Luxury, parked in a bus stop in London Road on September 29.

As reported, the £20,782 bill for leasing, fuelling and maintaining the car between 2015-17 topped the league table of money spent by authorities on mayoral cars.

A composite photo of Portsmouth City Council's mayoral car

A composite photo of Portsmouth City Council's mayoral car

Portsmouth City Council's mayoral car parked in a bus stop in London Road, yards away from Cllr Lee Mason's home

Portsmouth City Council's mayoral car parked in a bus stop in London Road, yards away from Cllr Lee Mason's home