Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tedious parking issues

Garden view with spiky pink flowers
Krakow Botanic Garden, July 2016
I'm still spending many spare minutes engaged in eBay trading, and my Canadian buyer is still keeping the boat afloat. Meanwhile other members of the family are busying themselves with other aspects of dad's collected material, with limited success. The past weekend contained a trip to The North West, where the weather was cold but the welcome was warm. Part of the reason behind the trip was to stay with old friends I hadn't seen for more than five years, but on the way there and back I offered to assist with the further clearing and emptying of goods currently stored in basement rooms. Just the threat of my presence was enough to prompt the requisite activity - I hardly had to do anything, and even acquired a certain proportion of said goods, some of which I have passed on to Ilf.

Yes, Ilf has paid another visit, and the upstairs spare room is looking even better with its final coat of paint. Next it will need curtains, a bedside table, the clothes rail that returned with me from The North West, and I'm thinking of sanding and painting a wooden chair that is currently in the garage looking very sad. That will complete the bedroom half of the spare room; I haven't thought too much about the office half yet. I made the follow up trip to the kitchen design shop to talk through some changes, and the plan is nearly finished. I'm still feeling good about the progress of the LTRP.

At work the talk has been of parking for a very long time, and is becoming extremely tedious. The Trust has two hospital sites; the one where I don't work (Hospital A) has insufficient parking for both staff and patients, leading to much stress. When I used to do a clinic there, patients occasionally phoned the reception desk from the car park, and more than once it was to say they were not coming to their appointment simply because there was nowhere to park. The hospital where I do work (Hospital B) has plenty of parking space.

Parking passes used to be allocated to staff at Hospital A on some arcane basis that probably had a lot to do with historical precedent and seniority. When I worked there, I used to park on a nearby housing estate that is 20 minutes' walk away from the hospital site. Since I stopped working there, the housing estate has introduced residents-only parking, so staff would park in the Tesco car park, which is 25 minutes away. Tesco is now limiting its free parking to exclude such visitors, and I really don't know what staff do any more.

It was decided that a fairer system needed to be introduced, so all staff are being invited to re-apply for parking passes which will be awarded on the basis of need, taking account of the requirements of the job role and public transport options. These are not free passes, but they cost less than the daily parking charges that patients pay. They used to be charged at different rates depending on pay grade and hours worked, so part-timers and those on low pay grades paid less. The new system is a flat rate for all from part-time cleaner to Chief Executive.

Throughout the extended period of time when details were slowly being made available to staff, it was never made clear whether these changes would apply at Hospital B, where there is no parking problem. The main grouse in my department was the unfairness of changing from proportional pricing to a flat rate, but parking raises such high emotion that barely a day went by without someone complaining afresh about the unfairness, which usually set someone else off, sometimes on an unrelated course, usually about the changes to the retirement pension entitlement. Parking, pensions, more parking - most lunchtimes descended into dissatisfied whingeing.

At last the day came when we could finally apply for a new pass under the new, 'fairer' guidelines. My goodness, the complaining escalated to unimaginable heights when it was discovered that anyone living nearer than two miles from Hospital B was going to be denied a parking pass on principle. Emails were fired off like cannonades - secure bicycle parking was going to be needed, husbands were going to set up lift sharing services, people couldn't be expected to walk all that way at their age, and what if it snowed? I felt like saying that I would love to work within walking distance of my home and not have to pay for parking or petrol at all.

Things calmed down when one member of staff was informed that there had been a mistake, and the two mile limit was supposed to apply to Hospital A only, given that parking capacity at Hospital B was adequate for all who wanted passes. But the price increase would still apply at Hospital B. And this is where we stand at present, and I hope they will all stop moaning about it soon.

Small flower and bud at base of aspidistra stalks
In other news, my aspidistra is flowering!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...