No obligation to enter vehicle registration number

Friday, 6 February 2015

by: Qurius

Now that people parking cannot be obliged to enter their vehicle registration number, as a Dutch District Court ruled at the end of January, parking will be a lot less lucrative for municipalities.

A year ago, Jørgen Weekers, director of Cition parking enforcement services in Amsterdam was quite satisfied. He had good news to report: in 2013 the city of Amsterdam had more income from parking than ever before, no less than EUR 166 million.



That was not only because the parking tariffs were increased that year and because the area where paid parking applies was expanded, but was mainly due to the intensified compliance inspections. By using cars to scan the vehicle registration numbers of parked cars, Cition was able to check three times as many cars in 2013 than in 2010. The result: a much greater chance of being ‘caught’ and consequently, a ‘greater willingness to pay’, Weekers explains. Thus: more money from parking.

Unexpected

Cition was unavailable to comment after the court ruled that people parking cannot be obliged to enter their vehicle registration number when they pay for parking, this must have come as a surprise to the enforcers. Last year, the company announced it would endeavour to increase the number of inspections even further.



The turmoil now is because of a lawsuit filed last autumn by the Privacy First Foundation. Chairman Bas Filippini. He had deliberately not entered his vehicle registration number when purchasing a parking ticket for on-street parking because he considers the obligation to do so a breach of his right to privacy. He contested the penalty he subsequently received, and with success. The judge ruled that he did not have to enter his vehicle registration number. After all, he could prove that he had in fact paid.

Privacy

Filippini was delighted with the verdict. "Entering your vehicle registration number to pay for parking is a thing of the past!" The problems this poses for Cition are not his to solve, he claims. "It's about my rights as a citizen. I don't want everyone to be able to see where I am. That's none of their business."



Filippini also said he has laid a bomb under the control options for parking operators and enforcers. "Not only in Amsterdam, because naturally, this also affects parking by vehicle registration number elsewhere in the Netherlands, such as in Groningen."



A spokeswoman for the Amsterdam Traffic and Transport Infrastructure Department said that the municipality was not at all happy with the court ruling. "I will not speculate about the consequences of this judgement" she said. The department is considering whether or not to appeal.

Payment

Now that people are no longer obliged to enter their vehicle registration number when buying a parking ticket, it does not mean that people won't bother to pay, the spokeswoman explains. "We also see more and more people using an app on their mobile phone to pay for parking. For this group, the vehicle registration number is automatically linked to their account."



Filippini also has a nice suggestion for the municipalities: "Paint parking bays on the street, give them a number and have people enter the number when they buy their ticket. That will work just as well and nobody's privacy will be breached."

(Source: http://www.parool.nl/, By: Marc Kruyswijk)