3663 First for Foodservice, last for cyclist safety?

This article was published in 2009, in Newsletter 84.

We do accept that delivering in areas like the city centre will be difficult. But delivering in a way which breaks the law and causes danger, yet is avoidable by walking an extra 20 metres, is unacceptable.

Last year, we wrote to the Fleet Director of 3663 regarding the way that their lorries have been unloading in an illegal and dangerous manner on St Andrew’s Street. 3663 are of course not alone in this – we receive reports for a variety of locations around the city.

The two photos show the problem. The lorry is unloading merely metres away from the pedestrian crossing, and is parked on a Mandatory Cycle Lane. Buses and other vehicles are forced onto the other side of the road. Yet there is a delivery bay 20 metres away, i.e. only 20 m additional walking.

Illegal use of a mandatory cycle lane to unload by 3663 First for Foodservice van. Notice the bus having to use the opposite side of the street, endangering oncoming traffic. Instead, the operative should have driven further up Regent Street to where there are delivery bays, and walked the extra 20 metres.
Image as described adjacent
Image as described adjacent

The response we received to our e-mail included an admission of deliberately ignoring restrictions:

The issue of parking in restrictive zones is one faced by every one of our depots on a daily basis and is a very difficult one to resolve. […] We do lobby very hard with most local authorities to provide practical parking situations to enable us to unload safely but sometimes find it necessary for these very safety reasons to park in restricted areas.

The safety problem we highlight is not theoretical. One of our committee, writing again to 3663, said:

Today one of your drivers was unloading in St Andrews Street Cambridge not more than 100 metres from previous incidents at around 09:00. He was stopped in a dangerous location some 20 m from a busy junction, where there is a loading/unloading ban until 10:00. When I approached him he said he stops there every week and gets a ticket. He also pulled his hat down and deliberately moved such that I shouldn’t get a photo of his face.

Whilst I was taking photographs a school-age cyclist stopped behind the vehicle believing it was in the queue for the lights. I told her she would be waiting some time as the driver was delivering. As she moved out to pass the vehicle she crossed to the other side of the white line whilst avoiding the tailgate. Seconds later a bus sped past on this narrow section of road.

3663 are not alone in ignoring restrictions
Image as described adjacent

We have now discovered that 3663 use software developed by Chevin Fleet Services to administer and challenge Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) as handed out by parking attendants. Their brochure, at
www.fleetwise.com/fleetwise12.pdf, proudly proclaims:

Frequently these vehicles are simply delivering goods or providing services at the time of receiving a PCN, but it is increasingly difficult for the services to be provided, especially in major cities, without drivers being at risk of getting a ticket or fine.

Chevin developed PCNPAL to help transport managers deal with the rising levels of administration from the increased number of PCNs being issued, and this parking fine management tool will assist in the monitoring, challenging and overturning of PCNs.

3663 processes 1,000 PCNs per month.

By using PCNPAL, 3663 reduced its parking fines by 15-20%.

We are publicising this to help raise awareness of the actions of these two companies, in the hope that it will lead to greater public debate on this issue. It seems that companies like 3663 prefer just to pay fines, rather than employ more people to deliver in a safe and legal fashion.