Gremlins cause Wigan car park system delays

The new machines in the Galleries
The new machines in the Galleries

Gremlins continue to thwart the introduction of a new parking system at a Wigan town centre multi-storey - a year after the machinery was installed.

Early last year new devices were installed at The Galleries for a pay-on-foot system.

Rather than take cash at the booths (which can cause queues), visitors can then pay at stations, using cash or a card then scan the paid-for ticket at the exit barrier.

But ever since the pay stations have stood idle, an electronic read-out saying “Not available temporarily. Sorry for the inconvenience” and Wigan Council notices urging customers to carry on with the present system. With the old entrance barriers deactivated, members of the car park staff have now spent months standing at the top of the ramp handing out tickets manually in all weathers.

The Wigan Observer first raised the issue of the council’s splashing out on new technology only for its so far going unused at the end of last year.

The town hall response at that time was that it had experienced some technological difficulties but these had been resolved. A decision had been made to let the Christmas and new year period end before work would be completed and the system, designed to “make the shopping experience more convenient,” would finally come in early in the new year.

But more than three months later and the same old situation prevails.

Some rumours had circulated that the council had shelved the pay station introduction after buying the Galleries recently.

But it seems to be further glitches that are continuing to prevent its launch.

Paul Barton, director for environment at the council, said: “We have experienced a number of uncontrollable issues with the instillation of the machines, which has caused delay to the start of the new parking system.

“We are hoping that the machine will be up and running very soon.”