Interview with a Parking Warden

Interview with a Parking Warden

Taylor K.9th January 2020

Parking wardens are rather unpopular amongst those who drive regularly. While their intention (to enforce laws that ensure parking is shared within the community) is good, they remain the enemy of many. We took it upon ourselves to interview someone that used to work as a parking warden in Ireland to hear their side of the story.

How long did you work as a parking warden?

I worked as a parking warden for three years in a number of different areas, including as an enforcement officer and as a relief supervisor.

What were your main duties?

I had a number of different duties that varied depending on the role I was in. As an enforcement officer, my main role was to be a deterrent for illegally parked or non-compliant cars. This meant a high visual presence in the area that I was monitoring. The number of parking fines issued was low, but it meant that people coming to the towns to park were actually paying for their parking. There was often a lot of comments made about how I’m constantly in an area or that I’m pushing people away from shopping local, but in fact, it had the opposite effect. Towns were thriving because customers had parking when they needed it as people weren’t overstaying. Local businesses received the “shop local” support that they needed and customers paid for their parking, which generated a revenue for the local council. As a relief supervisor my duties included opening the office and preparing the days equipment. I sent daily KPI (Key Performance Index) reports and then went out to the towns and completed compliance tests in those areas.

Roughly how many infringements did you issue every week?

I issued anywhere from 5 to 10 parking fines per day and worked 5 days per week. Parking fines were issued for a number of reasons. Some were for illegally parking i.e. double yellow lines or blocking a footpath. Others were issued for staying in a bay after a ticket had expired and the grace period (15 minutes) was over, and for parking in, or blocking, a disabled parking space.

What was the worst parking you encountered?

I have encountered some pretty bad parking in my time. The worst, I think, was a car parked on a footpath over double yellow lines, which forced traffic to cross a continuous white line. In the photo evidence I had gathered to add to the fine, you could see a lady walking out into the middle of a road with a small child in a buggy and two other children in tow. For that particular lady to get passed the car, she endangered herself and three children on a busy road. I feel that the worst part is that even though the car was only there for ten minutes or so, they were completely oblivious to the potential problems that they could have caused.

What’s the largest fine you ever issued?

The largest fine I have ever issued was €80. The reason was for parking in a disabled space. I issued this particular fine at least once a day.

Were there any weird restrictions on whether you could work? For example, no work on snow days.

There wasn't many weird restrictions. We took shelter in rain and unfortunately Ireland comes to a complete standstill when it snows, so we didn’t work then. There were a few company rules that we followed, but they were more common sense than rules. The main ones were if there was a church on our route and there a was funeral, we would stay away from that entire area for a few hours. On another of our routes we had a courthouse, and if anything was going on we would stayed away from that area as well.

Were there any work perks? For example, parking wherever you wanted.

When I worked in a multi-storey car park I did not have to pay for parking, but when I was an enforcement officer we had to use free parking facilities. I could not park in a paid area and not pay even though I was the only enforcement officer there that day. One thing I did learn was to pay close attention to the signs and lines on the road. If you read the time stamps and follow the rules, you can get free parking pretty much anywhere you go, i.e. free parking on a road after 3pm or loading bay time finishes at 10am (meaning after 10am its free parking).

Did you end up in any disputes/altercations?

Yes, unfortunately there was some minor altercations while working. It was mainly verbal and never physical. The main thing about this job is to have very thick skin. I always tell people, whenever I am asked, that 99 out every 100 people you meet while at work are actually very nice and understand why myself and my colleagues are needed in their towns. So when you come across the one person you just let it go straight over your head and walk away. The calmer you are, the angrier the other person gets and if you haven't walked away they usually do.

Did you actually enjoy your job?

I did enjoy my role as an enforcement officer. It was outdoors, I met a lot of very nice people, I got to see parts of Dublin that I probably never would have, or seldom would. I felt that my job really did make a difference to the towns I was working in. If you ask a lot of people they might disagree with that statement, but when you see a visual difference you know a job is worth doing.

What do you do for work now?

I now work as a Business Development and Events Manager at KERB. I really believe in what KERB are trying to do in the parking industry. There are some very exciting plans for different markets all over the world and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.

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