The paraplegics’ organisation on Tuesday asked the transport ministry to lift the ban on the company managing Larnaca and Paphos airports on dealing with illegal parking in spaces reserved for the disabled as they said they did a better job than the authorities.
Ever since the company managing the airports was asked to stop taking action against those parking on pavements and in spaces for the disabled following a parliament decision last year, incidents concerning this “unacceptable behaviour” have soared, the group said in a letter to the transport minister and the police chief among others.
The company, Hermes Airports, was banned from clamping down on illegal parking as it was deemed it had no right to immobilise private vehicles or issue traffic tickets, responsibilities that fall under the state’s powers. The decision followed a dispute over whether Hermes had the right to clamp or tow vehicles and then charge a release fee of €85 – a practice it had routinely employed at the time.
The group are asking the minister to give the company back the power to take measures as during the time the company was allowed to take measures, the group said, illegal parking had been limited.
“In this case, a private entity had been more effective in tackling the problem than the state or local authorities,” head of the paraplegics’ organisation Demetris Lambrianides told the Cyprus Mail.
The group also said that in other countries measures include towing cars parked illegally or wheel-clamping. Such measures, they said, should be introduced also at the ports.
As regards illegal parking in general, Lambrianides said the organisation has been waiting for three years for the House transport committee to resume discussion of their proposal to amend the law and introduce harsher penalties for those who park in spaces reserved for the disabled.
The proposal, that also calls for towing of cars illegally parked in these spots, had been tabled at the committee in 2015 by the then Edek MP Roula Mavronicola. Following an initial discussion, the issue has been pending since.
The group sent a letter last May to House President Demetris Syllouris asking him to intervene so that discussion on the matter resumes “the soonest possible”.
“There are cases where those breaking the law are attacking citizens that point out to them they are parking illegally on spaces reserved for the disabled,” the letter said. “This proves that impunity leads to emboldenment. We need more rigorous legislation and implementation, since this behaviour does not do justice to our country.”