I went on the Team MK training ride this weekend. I was a bit dubious about my fitness after seven days off the bike since my last ride. The absence was due to a short break on the Jurassic coast in Dorset. I was revisiting an area that I hadn’t really visited properly for about 50 years or so when I was in the company of my Mum and Dad and Brother. The nature of the area is that nothing much has changed in the scenery but there is the dreaded addition of the Pay & Display car park at every place you want to stop and have a look at the view. A feature you don’t see much if anything of in France in my experience and as my last visit was only recent its even more obvious. There you can pretty much stop anywhere you like, be it beach or beauty spot. There is no local council or landlord trying to rip you off at each and every opportunity.
I estimate that if you were touring around the UK in a car you would need to allow an extra twenty or twenty-five pounds a day for parking charges alone. Fortunately we are members of the National Trust so we can park free at their locations but everywhere else if its possible for a charge to be made you can be sure someone is going to charge you. Its not like you get anything for it. Usually its just a field and you are paying to occupy a little piece of grass and more often than not its to enable you to go and spend money in the shop or cafe at the ‘attraction’.
Local councils are just as bad. Once upon a time double yellow lines by the road to signify no parking were just placed in areas where it would be dangerous to park, or lead to congestion. Now they are all over the place and the only parking choice you have is the dreaded ‘Pay and Display’ car park.
Oops! I seem to have diversified somewhat from my original intention of leading into a report about my ride today but I seemed to have got onto a roll. I guess the ride report will now have to wait so I just amended the heading I gave this blog post.
So to continue with my rant.. It’s hardly surprising that our tourist industry appears to struggle if that’s the side that tourists to the UK see. I can imagine how I would feel if I was tourist coming to the UK. Maybe its just me but I don’t like the feeling that I am being ripped off and will go out of my way to avoid it. I will pay for good value anytime.
Another favourite gripe of mine is the cost of fuel. In France recently I was paying in Euros for a litre what I normally pay in Pounds here, meaning I was paying 20 – 25% less for fuel there than here. Another anomaly with fuel charges I noticed is that diesel fuel is cheaper abroad than petrol whereas the opposite applies here. I remember many years ago when diesel was less popular it was also cheaper here but as it increased in popularity so did the price until it is now dearer than petrol. I have never had or read a satisfactory explanation for this.
OK, Rant over, and its made me feel better to let off steam. I will get on with my original intention of a cycling post at the earliest opportunity. I would be interested to hear of anyone else’s experiences of being ripped off from whatever country you come from. Maybe its the same elsewhere ?
While I have been writing this a list of suggested and applicable articles has appeared in the margins so it seems its not only me so I have included them here for you..
- Diesel drivers being ripped off, says AA (telegraph.co.uk)
- Car park rip-off must end says MP – Confused.com (confused.com)
- The Great British diesel fuel rip-off (express.co.uk)
- Brits fork out nearly £8bn a year on over-priced parking places (confused.com)
- Warning for toy car owners! Contractors paint double yellow lines measuring just 21 INCHES on residential street (thisismoney.co.uk)
- ‘Daily oil price fix to rip off drivers’ (thesun.co.uk)
- Making parking child’s play with the new Confused.com Parking app – Confused.com (confused.com)
- Brits spend £8bn a year on parking – Confused.com (confused.com)
- And for a possible solution I offer this solution..
- Confused.com Launch Car Parking App (rightmobilephone.co.uk)
PS, I have downloaded the app and its worth doing.. 🙂