Faulty Luas parking ticket machines prompt urgent review

Motorists at risk of clamping after machine printed incorrect car registration numbers

A reader submitted video of a broken ticket machine at Luas station in Dublin - in this case, the number four doesn't work.

 

The Luas operator is urgently reviewing all the ticket machines at its seven park-and-ride facilities across Dublin after evidence emerged that faulty machines were issuing motorists with tickets carrying incorrect car registration numbers, leaving them at risk of being clamped.

Transdev, the company which operates the tram and parking facilities across the network, has also said that, with immediate effect, anybody clamped at one of its car parks for having the wrong car registration on a parking ticket can have the clamp released at no cost.

The review and change to its rules have both been implemented as a result of evidence uncovered by The Irish Times which showed faulty ticket machines operating at a Luas park and ride in Carrickmines.

On foot of an article in The Irish Times last week about clamping at a different Luas stations, a reader made contact to say he had been clamped twice at Luas park-and-ride facilities because one digit was incorrect on his number plate entry.

He was forced to pay a release fee of €80.

‘Luas has reviewed the customer’s video and we are now doing a full review of the ticket machines across the Luas network’ – Transdev. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
‘Luas has reviewed the customer’s video and we are now doing a full review of the ticket machines across the Luas network’ – Transdev. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

“After the first offence, I take particular care so was very surprised second time around,” he said. “So the next time I passed I checked the machine, which revealed faulty numbers.”

He used his phone to record a video which showed that when he tried to input the number four, the machine he was using recorded it as the number three. It did this on several occasions.

Other readers also contacted The Irish Times to express concern about the parking ticket machines at the Luas stations.

U-turn

Last week Transdev first said user error was to blame for mismatch car registration numbers and parking tickets. However, when the company saw the video evidence it performed a U-turn.

“Luas has reviewed the customer’s video and we are now doing a full review of the ticket machines across the Luas network,” a spokeswoman said.

She added that in most cases where someone “makes a mistake” when entering their car registration number and is clamped as a result a refund is granted by the NCPS – the company which policies the park and ride facilities.

However, such refunds are dependent on customers appealing, while NCPS also imposes an administrative fee of €30 when processing refunds granted under appeal.

The Transdev spokeswoman said that having seen the evidence of faulty machines, the systems have been changed and from yesterday “customers who pay for parking in the park and ride, and where their registration is incorrect and are clamped, will have their clamp released for free.”

She said the parking ticket machine review commenced on Friday and “no significant anomalies” had been found in the early stages and added that the review would be completed “within a number of days”.

She said the company acknowledged “there can be a machine error as there is human error too, and customers should be advised further changes to the system will be made to assist with mitigating both.”