Over five motorists can expect a parking ticket every day in the town, figures have revealed.
According to Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) statistics issued last week, approximately 1,841 on and off-street parking tickets were issued last year in the town, equating to just over five daily.
In terms of car parks within the town, 811 motorists received an off-street parking ticket and for unfortunate drivers overstaying their limit on spaces around the town centre and outside shops, 1,030 received tickets.
Overall, September was the worst month in 2017 for parking fines, with 129 on-street 101 off-street PCN’s issued.
In comparison, there were only 48 off-street issued within the month of July in the town, and 35 on-street tickets in April.
As an individual who has felt the wrath of traffic wardens numerous times, Strabane-based window cleaner Eamon Magee is not surprised at the high numbers of fines issued.
“The number of fines doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “I feel wardens are too harsh on individuals trying to go about their business.
“I have been ticketed a number of times when unloading my van for work over the last few months.
“Twice I was able to challenge these fines successfully, but over two weeks ago I was almost ticketed again.
“It’s hard to go about your business with the constant threat of a fine.”
As well, Mr Magee feels he is not alone when he regards the parking in the town as a “total disgrace.”
“People have to go about their daily lives and have enough to worry about,” he said.
“With Strabane having the highest unemployment rate in the North, getting fines left right and centre is something many could do without.
“A fine of £45 could push many people’s budgets over the edge and cause serious stress.
“Overall, I feel parking and the conduct of wardens is a joke in the town.”
In the wake of the statistics, many representatives in towns across the North have voiced concerns that high ticket numbers are driving individuals away from town centres. This said, Strabane’s Chamber of Commerce president Martin Gallen feels such claims are unfounded.
“I feel that by now, people know the score when it comes to parking tickets,” he said. “I don’t think this element will drive people away from the town centre and business is not suffering as a result.
“After all, if you receive a ticket, most of the time you were in the wrong, and if someone needs to come to the town centre they will find a space to do so.”
On the whole, Mr Gallen feels that Strabane has “ample” parking facilities in the town.
“I think those that claim they cannot find a space aren’t being realistic.
“There is ample free and pay and display parking spaces in the town. Parking is certainly not the biggest issue in Strabane.”
In relation to parking fines, a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said, “Enforcement of parking restrictions aims to reduce the number of illegally-parked vehicles.
“This, in turn, will reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety, and improve accessibility for all road users, including Blue Badge holders.
“In order to achieve these benefits, it is important that appropriate action is taken to discourage those who park or use bus lanes illegally. PCNs are therefore issued to drivers who contravene regulations.
“Drivers are advised to park legally at all times.”
On-street Parking tickets in 2017
• Strabane: 1,030
• Derry: 6,183
• Castlederg: 13
• Newtownstewart: 0