CASHLESS high-tech parking has arrived in Wigan.
The ‘Pay by Phone’ scheme sees drivers having to text a phone number which then adds the cost of parking to your debit/credit card or your mobile’s monthly bill.
Traditional pay and display ticket machines in Library Street, Millgate and Hewlett Street have been taken out of action and are now shrouded in covers warning motorists that they must now use their phone instead if they wish to avoid a ticket.
They haven’t been removed at this stage because the project is a twelve month long trial which could yet be reversed – if there isn’t a strong take up – next May.
Wardens are now being automatically issued with a list of those car registrations who have paid for parking directly to a hand-held device.
Drivers can also choose to receive reminder texts straight to their mobile reminding them that they need to top-up their electronic parking ticket, although that will cost an extra 10p.
Users must register with the Pay by Phone scheme and then, after the location and length of stay is given, they are entered onto a database.
Operators of the scheme, who will take an EXTRA 20p handling fee from every electronic parking ticket they process, claim there are numerous benefits.
A spokesman said: “The user isn’t required to carry around cash and the correct change isn’t required.
“There is also no need to display a ticket and as such there is no possibility of the ticket being displaced when the vehicle is parked. Unlike conventional parking systems there is the option to ‘top up’ payment for parking remotely from the vehicle should the user be delayed, reducing the possibility of receiving a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) .”
The council also see benefits in the scheme.
Because the operation is cashless there are no coin or ticket jams in machines which need to be maintained and emptied of coins, along with a reduction in potential vandalism.
However, some drivers have blasted the trial – even though there are many coin-operated parking meter areas available for use in the town centre. Susan Klein of Quarry Place in Scholes said: “I am appalled to find the Pay and Display machines have been covered up – have the powers that be at Wigan Council gone completely mad?
“Obviously the people responsible for this decision, have their own Council car park space.”
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