The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

Greedy car park attendants have their licence temporarily suspended or revoked - TM

Rebekah Cilia Monday, 23 September 2019, 09:18 Last update: about 26 days ago

Over the last year, one car park attendant had his licence permanently revoked by court action and three others had their licence temporarily suspended, Transport Malta told The Malta Independent.

Abusive behaviour by attendants has been a point of contention for the Maltese people for a long time. Five years ago a petition calling for the removal of all car park attendant licences was launched and it garnered over 2,500 supporters.

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Following years of complaints, in 2014, Transport Malta affixed signs that can be seen today in several public car parks. The signs erected state that the car park is a public one and that “payment of gratuities/tips are voluntary”.

Over the years, Transport Malta has stepped up its efforts to monitor car park attendants, and their operations, in an attempt to cut down on abuse. Several attendants have had their licence suspended over the past few years.

In January 2018, a person posing as an attendant landed a six-month effective prison sentence following action by Transport Malta officials, together with the police.

The transport watchdog has noted, on several occasions, that drivers can park for free in a public parking space and that tipping is voluntary.

Officials from the authority even carry out random inspections periodically and even conduct “mystery shopping” exercises, as part of their monitoring exercise, Transport Malta told this newsroom.

This follows an incident whereby a car park attendant at a public carpark in Blata l-Bajda asked a driver to pay a fixed fee, despite a Transport Malta sign being present in the car park.

The parker requested that the driver pay him €2 and no receipt was given. He was seen wearing the official Transport Malta tag, proving he is a licensed attendant.

The incident was reported to Transport Malta who also confirmed that the car park is a public parking space.

Transport Malta said its officials investigate any reports it receives. A report on its own, however, is not enough to take action against a particular attendant, especially in circumstances where the person lodging the report is not willing to testify on the incident reported. In that case, there would be no particular evidence to present in court, the transport watchdog said.

According to the law, no-one can act as a car park attendant without a licence issued by the Authority for Transport in Malta. Someone wishing to apply for a licence must apply to Transport Malta and pay an annual fee €11.65.

The licence is only valid for a specific car park and at specific times. The photo card tag, that should be worn by the car park attendant at all times, should indicate such information and will also include the person's I.D. number and the licence number.

A licence is only issued if Transport Malta is satisfied that the person is “of good character and is fit to carry out his duties,” the law indicates.

The parker is also responsible for the cleaning of the parking site during the time he is operating. He is also required to use all care and diligence to ensure the orderly entry, parking and exit of vehicles in any carpark under his charge, and to prevent all thefts from, or damage to, such vehicles.

Furthermore, he shall note down in writing the registration number of any vehicle involved in a collision or other incident at such a car park, and report the particulars to the police.

The authority urges the public to report any abuse on the number 80072309.

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