Conti In Legal Battle With London Transport Authority

British actor TOM CONTI is fighting the TRANSPORT FOR LONDON (TFL) authority after he was hit with hefty fines for forgetting to pay a mandatory road congestion charge on two separate occasions.

The SHIRLEY VALENTINE star tried to pay the $9.50 (GBP5) tolls the day after he entered the charging zone in central London, but was told by TFL employees he would be fined because drivers must pay the toll on the same day.

Conti was so disgusted with the rigid ruling he refused to pay and has seen his two 'debts' rise to $597 (GBP314) and $561 (GBP295) respectively, and was told bailiffs would remove items from his north London home to cover the original charges as well as late payment penalties and administration costs.

The 63-year-old fumes, "In no other walk of life are the consequences so steep just for momentarily forgetting to pay GBP5. It is out of proportion to any alleged offence and it is so easy to forget on the day.

"With TFL they have made it as difficult as they can to pay and when you do try to pay they say 'No thanks' and take you to the law instead."

21/01/2005 17:51

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Leandro Ulisse's picture

Leandro Ulisse

Dear Tom,Apart from admiring you as one of the best actors in this Country, I am writing to you regarding the burning issue of Congestion Charge, because beside burning my pocket it is also burning inside me.I went in the zone on the 19th Oct. At 00.20 (20th October) I realised that I had not paidthe charge.I also knew that I had to go in the zone on the 20th. So i paid the charge for the 20th at 00.21 20th Oct and immediately (same day) wrote to the Penalty office explaining all the circumstances (see below)enclosing a cheque for £8.00 for the mispayment of the 19th Oct. (should really have been for £10, I learned afterwards, however they never acknowledged the cheque) All this can be documented of course.They wrote back to me with a 4 page letter. A very detailed one explaining quite correctly all the events showing me that they understood what happened but the law was broken and therefore there is no room for mistakes.I have just paid the £50.00 by telphone and am now writing to them expressing my disgust at their attitude towrds another fellow human being, if they know the meaning of the word, and also to ask for my cheque back with a refund as I have now placed a stop on it which my Bank is charging me £25.00.To make matters worst, the car hire company charged me £45.00 for the inconvenience of them receiving the penalty charge and to fill in my name and address. The penalty office was informed of this but couldn't care less.The irony of my case(and this is why I appealed to them for some understanding and some tollerance), I am a private hire operator and I go in and out of London almost everyday with my Minibus which has an Exemption Pass. So I don't have to pay for the charge.I mention this here (as I told the Penalty office) to highlight that I am so used to go in and out of the zone without having to worry about payment of the charge; during these two days in question I had hired a car as I had two dear friends of mine from overseas to take around so I took the opportunity to put my minibus in for service.I explained all this to the Penalty office but they would not hear of it at all.I strongly believe that there should be a certain amount of flexibility, understanding and tolerance in some cases; certainly some consideration to the circumstances. Instead we find only six possible reasons for appealing and each one of those does not allow one iota of human error. So in conclusion we have all become robots, there is no humans beyond the might of Westminster Council.If you can use my experience to back your campaign I would be more than willing to join in!!! Leandro UlisseCedar Cottage High StreetColnbrookBerkshireSL3 0JZmail@ulisse.co.uk
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Bill Burton's picture

Bill Burton

Dear Tom,There I was in the depth of the Fens reading an articalon "Parking" in the Saturday Times magazine thinking how much I agreewith all that was being said and relating it to our own two year struggle, still ongoing, against the introduction of Parking Charges here in Ely. Imagine my surprise ,when getting to the end of the piece your name popped up as a "soul brother" so I felt moved to make contact.First I hope you and your family are in good healh and life is being good to you all.Icould no longer take the delights of Golders Green so took early retirement,needless to say as soon as I left the old firm cloased down !!!!! I can now confirm there is life north of Watford.You will not be alone in making Parking an issue in the next elections . It is our intention to do the same. We are now writing to the all local politicalparties reminding them of the 10,000 strong partitionwe have submitted to our Local Council not to mentionthe TV and radio coverage recived ( next stop Hollywood?) all saying no to Parking Charges.They would be foolish to ignore the strength of opinion in our City, as would the councils contry wideif current press reports can be belived.All the very best of luck with your campaign.Remember they work for us,the tail must not wag the dog .Regards,Bill Burton. (01353 610032 )Ps. Did you ever find the staircase?
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