Pay by text for parking

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A CASHLESS parking scheme may be trialled in Wigan.

The ‘Pay by Phone’ scheme sees drivers having to text a number which then adds the cost of parking to your mobile’s monthly bill.

Traditional pay and display ticket machines will be removed from the site surrounding the new Wigan Life Centre during the 12-month pilot in Library Street, Millgate and Hewlett Street.

Wardens will be issued with a list of registrations to a hand-held device for all drivers who have made the required payment.

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.

If approved for introduction in February it will become one of just a handful of schemes in the North West.

And the Pay-by-Phone option could also be rolled out as a supplementary way of payment at existing car parks around the borough.

If councillors agree to a pilot introduction, users will register with the Pay by Phone scheme and then, after the location and length of stay is given, they will be entered onto a database.

Operators of the scheme, who will take a 20p handling fee from every electronic parking ticket they process, claim there are numerous benefits.

A spokesman said: “The user will not be 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 maintained and emptied of coins, along with a reduction in potential vandalism.

The system is also fake or foreign coin proof.

Cabinet member for the economy and deputy leader Coun David Molyneux said: “We are proposing to introduce the pay by phone parking scheme on a trial basis, as an additional payment option for all surface car parks in Wigan and in Leigh.

“For parking around Wigan’s new Life Centre, on Library Street, Hewlett Street and Millgate, we are proposing mobile-only payments.

“Should this happen, there will still be plenty of parking choice for those without mobiles. It’s a system which has worked well elsewhere and we expect it to be a modern step forward in our borough.”