Ogmore MP Huw Irranca-Davies met with ASDA, Network Rail and Arriva Trains to resolve the concerns over unexpected changes to car parking rules and the introduction of parking fines at ASDA Maesteg for shoppers and railway commuters. The meeting was extremely constructive, and a way forward has been agreed which will now be communicated effectively to all carpark users.
Recent weeks have seen growing numbers of complaints from people who have unexpectedly received parking penalty fines of £70 for staying longer than 2 hours at the ASDA car park in Maesteg. Previously users have been able to park for free and for extended periods at the car park which is owned by ASDA but also used by rail commuters, but the introduction of new restrictions on parking has led to huge confusion and angry people who were hit by fines.
One constituent complained that the £70 parking fine incurred on a shopping trip to Cardiff meant that the Christmas presents would have to be returned. But Christmas is now back on the agenda as ASDA have agreed to make good any fines, and put things right before proceeding again.
Ogmore MP Huw Irranca-Davies took up the issue promptly, and is pleased that ASDA has apologised for the confusion and is already taking steps to resolve the issues. Huw had written to ASDA to ask them to refund any parking fines issued so far, to stop issuing any further penalty fines, and to make sure the new rules are clear to all customers and rail users before progressing. They have agreed to the requests.
Huw says “It looks like these changes were implemented in a bit of a rush from somewhere high-up in ASDA, without thinking through the consequences locally for customers, rail users who use this carpark for commuting, and for the poor staff caught in the middle of complaints. So I am delighted that ASDA head-office have listened, have stopped fines being issued, are refunding fines which have been issued to date, and will be putting up clear signage and customer information before re-introducing the new rules. Anyone who has been caught out should – politely – have a word with the customer service desk where local staff can help resolve the issue.”
“I’m also pleased to find that I can now quickly register my car for free parking with the helpful staff and also pick up a coffee and bacon-butty before catching my morning train. That’s a real bonus!”
An ASDA representative said “ASDA take its role in the community very seriously and are proud to serve the residents of Maesteg. We apologise for any confusion the recently installed ANPR cameras have caused. It had become apparent that our customers were struggling to park at the store due to high demand from other town centre uses. The new parking controls will help alleviate this issue and ensure a regular turnover of spaces. Rail commuters are still welcome to park at our store; all we ask is they show their travel ticket and register their vehicle with colleagues in-store to ensure they are exempt from the two hour time limit”.
How to park when travelling by train
Before boarding your train, simply pop into store with your train ticket and see a colleague at our kiosk and give your vehicle registration details. This will exempt you from the two-hour time limit.
For weekly, monthly or even annual rail tickets you only need to register your vehicle once to cover that period of travel. Only when a new ticket is purchased will you need to re-register.
For one-off trips where tickets are purchased on-board, pop into store upon your return with your ticket and give your registration details for your vehicle.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “The issue of parking at Maesteg station is a complicated one – whilst the site on which the supermarket and the car park were built were once owned by the railway, pre-rail privatisation and prior to the station re-opening, the land in question was leased by the British Railways Board to a previous occupier of the site. For many years rail users were able to park for free in the area of the car park nearest the station and since the station reopened in 1992, people have assumed it was a station facility. We have been working closely with Asda and other stakeholders to try and find a solution for passengers and we are pleased to see that progress has been made.”
An Arriva Trains Wales spokesperson said “We are delighted that this issued has been resolved and it is great news for our customers. We will now ensure that clear parking instruction signage is put up at the station to avoid any confusion in the future.”