Computer glitch traps THOUSANDS in hundreds of NCP car parks across the country for hours after automatic exit barriers were stopped from opening
- Thousands of drivers were trapped for hours in the National Car Parks car parks
- Chaotic scenes at hundreds of firm’s sites across Britain as drivers ‘held hostage’
- Technical glitch means workers stopped drivers leaving until details collected
- Driver in Croydon, south London, forced to call police for ‘false imprisonment’
Thousands of drivers were trapped for hours in hundreds of NCP car parks when a technical glitch stopped automatic exit barriers from opening.
There were chaotic scenes at many of the 500 sites run by National Car Parks, one of Britain’s biggest parking operators, when its prepaid Parkpasses suddenly stopped working and attendants refused to let drivers out.
The car parks came to a standstill as lengthy queues formed behind the barriers, with furious motorists complaining of being ‘held hostage’ and trapped in ‘parking hell’.
One civil servant stuck in a car park in Croydon, south London, during the evening rush hour said he managed to get out only after he phoned the Metropolitan Police to complain of ‘false imprisonment’ and officers instructed attendants to open the barriers.
There were chaotic scenes at many National Car Parks when its prepaid Parkpasses suddenly stopped working and attendants refused to let drivers out (file photo)
He said an ‘irate’ member of staff at the Whitgift shopping centre said he had been instructed by bosses not to let anyone out until they had taken everybody’s details.
One woman told The Times she had been trapped for an hour and a half in a car park in Manchester. She said: ‘It was absolutely outrageous. We were just left standing there with no one coming to help and nobody willing to even pick up the phone to tell us what was going on.’
NCP said the technical issue was caused by a problem with a ‘third party provider’ but refused to give any more details. Many drivers vented their frustration on social media, describing the situation as a ‘shambles’ and ‘disgraceful’.
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Emma Short wrote on Twitter: ‘Queues and queues of cars stationary. People are getting angry. What’s happening?’ Robbie McNish wrote: ‘Birmingham Angus barriers not opening. Hundreds of people stuck and no answer from customer service. Please sort ASAP.’
Another complained: ‘Currently locked in NCP in Sheffield Campo Lane parking hell! Myself and about 20 cars and the numbers are growing. Can’t get out! Help!
The car parks came to a standstill as lengthy queues formed behind the barriers, with furious motorists complaining of being ‘held hostage’ (file photo)
‘No wonder NCP don’t have a Twitter account – that would probably break tonight as well.’
But some saw the funny side, with Chris Fletcher tweeting: ‘Stuck trying to get out of an NCP car park in Leeds. This could be my life from now on. Looking around trying to decide which stranded driver is going to get eaten first.’
A spokesman for NCP said: ‘We are aware of a technical fault that has affected some of our car parks and our team is working hard to resolve this as soon as possible.
‘We have sent staff to all sites affected to assist customers with their exit and we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.’
NCP operates more than 500 sites around the UK. It has been owned by Park24, a listed Japanese company, since August 2017.
Founded in 1931 in London, by the 1990s it was one of the most successful private businesses in Britain.
In 1993, NCP’s then chief executive, Gordon Layton, faced trial for industrial espionage after he was accused of planting spies in a rival car parking group, Europarks. He was acquitted.
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