THE controversial parking system at Queen's Hospital has been simplified following a barrage of complaints from patients and visitors.
Easier tariffs, better equipment and improved signage are among the raft of alterations put in place at the hospital, after countless people accused the organisation of making the system deliberately complicated so more people would be fined.
Though the hated Parking Eye machinery will still remain – and exasperated motorists still will not be told how much they owe – bosses believe the changes will make a big difference for people using the car park.
Head of facilities Geoff Neild said: "We are sorry for any distress, confusion and upset that patients and their relatives and carers have experienced since the new automatic number plate recognition system was introduced in late 2013.
"The most common complaint received is that the machines do not tell you how much you owe after you input your car registration number.
"The complexity of our hospital car parks, which means we have cameras at multiple entrances and exits, made the cost of a bespoke system – as operated in supermarket sites with a single entrance and exit – prohibitive.
"So the solution that the independent review panel recommended was to drastically simplify the payment tariff system."
From yesterday, it will cost £2 to park for up to two hours, £3 for up to six hours and £6 for up to 24 hours.
Many people believe they have been unfairly fined after parking at the Belvedere Road site. The problem is often caused by people not knowing how to use the machinery, as the process has been described as unclear by those who use it.
It is hoped that new machines and more and better signs will ease the problem.
It is the second time that changes have been promised at the site. Back in March, when the first alterations were announced, chief executive Helen Ashley said she 'deeply regretted' any upset which had been caused by the system.
Parking fees go to the hospital to fund the car park, which chiefs say costs £1 million a year to run. Fines go to operating company Parking Eye.
An appeals system is still in place for anybody who feels they have been unfairly charged.