Hiring a van? Don’t get caught out by loading bay fines

Hiring a van? Don’t get caught out by loading bay fines

It’s a pretty straightforward process to hire a van, as long as you’re organised. (And of course, we do everything we can to make it easier here at Intack Self Drive.) But that organisation doesn’t just apply to paperwork - you’ll need to make sure you’re fully up to speed on parking laws and regulations when you’re out using the van too. If you’re planning on transporting your cargo to a destination in a major city for example, it’s worth taking particular care with loading bays. It’s not unusual for van drivers to get caught out! 

Loading bay rules still causing confusion for UK van drivers

Incorrect parking or stopping in a loading bay is quite a common mistake for van drivers, although many say it’s more to due with the confusing rules rather than carelessness on their part. According to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, van drivers were hit with fines worth £1.7 million between 2015 to 2018 alone. Councils issued an average of 13,000 parking fines a year from 2015 onwards, with that figure rising by 10% year-on-year. 

That last stat appears to be a reflection of growing confusion from van drivers about exactly when they’re allowed to park in loading bays, and for how long. We know what you’re thinking - how do we know it’s confusion, rather than simply cheekiness? Well, many of those drivers appealed their fines, and that same research from Volkswagen found that nearly a quarter (23%) of fines were rescinded upon a successful appeal. That does appear to suggest that at least some share of the blame lies with the rules themselves, rather than solely the drivers for failing to follow them. 

So what are the rules for loading bays?

The exact regulations vary between councils, but they all tend to share certain similarities. Most loading bays can be used to collect pre-ordered goods, or to unload goods that require transporting by van. 

The operational load times of different loading bays vary between different councils and administrative authorities, so this is one of the first things that it’s a good idea to check. Run a particularly careful eye over the regs if you’re planning on driving anywhere in Glasgow, Manchester or Haringey, as they’re collectively known for issuing the largest numbers of parking tickets between them. 

Once you’ve begun loading or unloading, there’s technically no explicit time limit on how long you can take to do so, as long as you’re not still unloading once operational load times have ended and restrictions come into effect. 

Make sure not to hang around too long afterwards, as you’re supposed to move your vehicle immediately after loading has finished. Sometimes it can be easy to get drawn into a conversation with other people on-site, but try not to - it could end up being a very costly one! 

If your hire van or company vehicle is left unattended at any stage, you’ll need to make sure it’s clear to everyone who passes that goods are being loaded and unloaded. An easy way to do this is simply by sticking the hazard lights on. 

Don’t stop in a loading bay for any reason if you’re not loading or unloading, and you’re definitely not supposed to use it to wait for parking. The same goes for collecting or dropping off passengers - the inevitable fine isn’t worth the few minutes you’ll save! 

Never load or unload

  • On the white zigzag markings at either end of the pedestrian crossing
  • During loading restriction hours
  • Wherever there are signs saying ‘no stopping’ - they’re common fixtures in places like bus stops, taxi ranks, school markings and disabled bays

Essentially, as long as you take the time to map out your journey in advance, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. It can be easy to take things for granted though, so always have one last read over the guidelines before you set off - just in case!

Once you’ve got all that sorted on your end, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ll always make everything as simple and straigh­­tforward as we can on our side of things, so it all as smoothly and efficiently as possible when you come to hire a van, car or minibus. 

Plus if you’re thinking about using your vehicle for something more long-term, our Flexi Hire services are designed to give you the very best value on long-term hire. Feel free to explore the details right here on our site, or give us a ring on 01254 57811!

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