THERE has been much uproar about parking issues at Burton's Queen's Hospital in recent times.
When the system was 'simplified' this week in an attempt to make things easier to understand, I – as a new face in the town – was tasked with investigating.
I arrived at the Belvedere Road site at around 11am. It was moderately busy, as you would expect.
I pulled in to be confronted with a sign that said 'car park' with two arrows pointing in opposite directions.
It didn't say what car park – for example A&E or maternity. It just said 'car park'.
I decided to take my chances and turn right, and luckily I found it.
I stopped at the first turn and what I thought was the entrance to the car park, but in fact happened to be the exit.
Surely for the sake of emergencies it would be more useful to have the entrance to the car park as close as possible to the entrance to the hospital, but that wasn't the case.
I had to drive about another 150 yards or so before I came to the actual entrance, where I saw a sign next to the barrier telling me to make a note of the time on entry and exit.
So despite the car park having automatic numberplate recognition, the responsibility of knowing exactly the length of my stay had suddenly been passed on to me.
Luckily, in this instance, I wasn't panicking over an emergency, but what about if I were frantically rushing somebody to hospital?
I parked up found that the payment machines were inside, which made sense.
What didn't make sense was that when I came to pay for my stay I wasn't told how much I owed – a gripe voiced by many ever since Parking Eye took over the running of the car park in October last year.
I had to know how long I had been there in order to pay the correct amount.
If I got this wrong, I would soon be greeted by a £70 fine landing on my doorstep.
The old system of having to guess how long you would be at the hospital in advance has been replaced with having to calculate how long you had actually been there.
It's easy to understand the anger of people who frequent the hospital, when all it would take is a parking meter that issues a ticket on entry to use when you come to pay.
Another problem was that I am one of the many people who does not know their car registration plate off by heart.
Unfortunately I needed this to pay for my visit, so was forced to run out to my car in the rain, which again would be a real issue for somebody who had trouble with mobility.
It seemed to me that the whole system had not been properly thought through.
Confusing signage, followed by the exit coming before the entrance and then having to play guessing games when you pay.
Fun at the Wacky Warehouse perhaps, but inappropriate for a hospital.