Motorists fined at Royston station car park due to late trains

Motorists are being fined while waiting for late trains in the car park near Royston station. Pictur

Motorists are being fined while waiting for late trains in the car park near Royston station. Picture: Nick Gill - Credit: Archant

A new automated parking system at Royston railway station has led to some motorists receiving fines when trains are delayed, something which has been described as a “moral injustice”.

The car parking contractor Indigo switched to an ANPR system in the second week of September, whereby cameras automatically register your vehicle registration details.

Unbeknown to some, motorists can park for free for up to 15 minutes – but after that have to pay for a ticket.

Kate Woods from Foxton received a £100 parking fine after sitting in her car for 20 minutes at Royston station waiting for her husband, whose train had been delayed.

Kate said: “It is a moral injustice. I have picked up my husband many times from the station and this has never happened, there were also no signs to notify us about the new camera procedures.

“There will be people who can’t afford to pay or many parents picking up children coming home from school who may be affected.

“It is worrying that this issue with the poor train scheduling is having a knock on effect on people’s lives.”

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South Cambs MP Heidi Allen has been looking into the issue.

She said: “Govia Thameslink Railway has told Indigo that they are supposed to be monitoring when an arriving train has been delayed which would increase the grace period to 30 minutes.

“I have told GTR that these grace periods are clearly not working and, together with Indigo, they need to consider how to improve communication and public awareness. They are currently investigating what has gone wrong.

“If constituents are being caught out by this, I would ask them please to contact my office and we will investigate for them. Any incorrect ticketing charges must be refunded swiftly.”

A GTR spokesman said: “We will always apply common sense when there have been delays and will not penalise drivers unnecessarily. Trains can be delayed for many reasons, most of them outside our control as, indeed, was the case in at least one of these instances.

“A grace period is allowed once a car has entered the camera zone to allow for dropping off as well as picking up. After this period, payment is required as advertised. Motorists need to be aware of the time spent in car parks and make the necessary decision as to whether to stay and pay or move from site.”

“As further background, Ms Woods’ train on 11 September was delayed because some teenagers had been spotted on the track north of Hatfield. We will see to it that the penalty is reversed.

“Signs were put up in September last year but the ANPR system was switched on only four weeks ago. In light of the feedback, we will be looking at improving the signs.”

The Crow also contacted Indigo who were unavailable for comment.