Urban Baywatch

I’m becoming obsessed with a parking bay! The one I use to charge with the new Ubitricity charging points in Portsmouth. There’s a problem in so much as it’s not quite an EV charging bay yet.

Diesel Van Electric Bay

Just over two months into Nissan Leaf ownership and it’s fabulous. The car is smooth, quiet, fast and the running costs are about 15% of putting petrol in my previous Toyota Auris Hybrid. There’s no way I’d want to go back to an ICE car. Being an early adopter of running EV on public charging in Portsmouth has brought it’s frustrations though. I will say mainly caused by ICE cars but also because Portsmouth City Council seem to have fallen apart completing the on street charging project.

There was the media launch for the charging points on the 8th March and over the next couple of weeks the roadside charging points were installed. However, the parking bays weren’t marked out so, predictably, ICE cars continued to park by the charge points. After a few days frustration at not being able to charge I chased the council, made a fuss on social media and got answers, more like excuses really, resulting in confirmation the bays would be painted and finished between 23rd and 26th April.

initially the lettering “ELECTRIC VEHS” was painted haphazardly across what would be considered 2 parking bays with no lines to show the front and back of the bay near where I live . Needless to say the area near the charge post was ICE’d regularly. One particular car makes a habit of parking with the charging post half way along their car and so near that even if I can get close it’s difficult to plug in. This was the reply I received from the Parking Department when I reported it through the myPortsmouth app.

Hi

Thank you for your email regarding an Electric Charging Bay.

Unfortunately these bays are not enforceable until there is a plate next to the bay and the bay is completely painted.

Kind Regards”

This prompted me to send more emails to contacts I’ve built up and also to the councillor who chairs the Transport Committee. She has chased up somebody else and I received the answer that the bays will be correctly marked and enforceable within the next couple of weeks.

The charge point is behind the black car

It’s a shame such a good scheme is initially ruined by bad planning and organisation in the road signs and markings department in Portsmouth City Council. If EV owners cannot get to the bays to charge then they won’t charge and the critics of the scheme will use this to say it’s not working and potential EV owners will be put off buying a car seeing bays being ICE’d.

Would I go back to an ICE car because of these frustrations? Not at all. I’m an early user of the scheme and councils are not renowned for their efficient bureaucracy. I’m optimistic it will get sorted. My frustrations are almost entirely caused by selfish ICE car drivers ignoring the markings on the bay. The further frustration is the failings in the councils bureaucracy and planning but as soon as the bays are correctly marked tickets will be issued and the message will get out not to block the EV charging bays.