Thursday, 20 June 2019

Tow Zone or not? And what about the Foreign Number Plates?

I wrote the below entry on the 14th of June but as I had another more time-dependant post to publish last week, I decided to keep this one for today. Another thing I would like to add before you read on is, that this article is for awareness and by no means written out of negativity. If anything, things always work out but I still get pretty upset when incidents such as the ones mentioned below happen so I want to make my voice heard in the name of all of us. Enjoy today's ride!!

I am writing this entry in my new flat, on my beautiful new turquoise desk. The reason I am here is because this is a morning and afternoon packed full of deliveries of doors, furniture, and more!

My desk was small enough to be delivered upstairs via stairs but most items require a hi-up lifter to make it into my new home. With every day for which I book a lifter service, I must also book a permit from the local council to use said lifter in the street. Regardless that the lifter must park on the side and not obstruct the road, a permit is still required.

There are at least two different types of permits. Should I book the permit 24 hours before use, then it seems to be solely a tax on road usage, since the council explained that the EUR10 charge is simply for rooting the lifter in the street in question.

Should I book more than 48 hours prior to use, then I am allowed to phone up the police should anyone park in the zone, provided I stick the official 'No Parking' signs at least 48 hours beforehand and take photographs as proof. The signs provided by my local council clearly said 'Tow Zone'.

So you can imagine the frustration of turning up in the morning to receive multiple deliveries, finding a car parked in the bay and being told by the police on the phone that they could do nothing about it since said car had foreign number plates. Say what?!

I quite pointedly remarked on the ridiculousness of the situation where I, a Maltese person in my own country, was paying for a permit whilst another person could do as they please and still thwart my permit plans just because they are foreign! When I asked them to just tow the car away anyway, the policewoman said she would get sued for doing that!

A trip to the local council, already angry and panicking at all the deliveries that might get stalled, yielded further information. It was explained to me that the printed official signs might have said 'Tow Zone' but actually even should the license plates have been Maltese, the police would not tow the car away. Rather, they would phone up the owner asking that it gets removed and if this doesn't happen, book a ticket. Which leaves the permit holder with, what exactly? - A car still parked in the no-parking zone and the deliveries still pending.

I am not racist or extraordinarily patriotic. However neither do I expect a worse treatment to foreign residents! Add to this, why would an official sign say 'Tow Zone' when it apparently isn't? Thankfully after the fiasco it seems the sign is actually getting rectified as the Major was at the office when I made my not so discreet complaint and he agreed that the sign was misleading and should be fixed.

On a positive note, all's well that ends well. It wasn't the police who removed the car, nor the local council. One neighbour who was at the council office and overheard the panic was the one who found the car's owner and got the delivery bay free. The Universe works in mysterious ways.

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