Paying for parking has been has always been a pain. Does the machine work? Have I got the correct coins? Paying electronically with a card seemed a benefit but the transaction charge can be an extra 100% if your stay is short – 20p for a short stay and another twenty pence for the payment itself.
When Elmbridge withdrew the remote payment service over Christmas the problem got worse. Everyone had to pay by cash and the machines filled up very quickly and stopped working. Apparently, people were even fined for parking when the parking meters were full. The online service was reinstated recently with another provider but it is still unacceptably expensive.
I called on the borough to use cashless payment when I first became a councillor and, not before time, Elmbridge is about to begin trials. I understand that this new system will be semi contactless (proximate swiping) using ordinary credit and debit cards and there will be no charge to the user. It is due to begin in the station car parks first and, if successful, it will move to the town car parks and on to the various other car parks in the borough.
I also suggested a more effective charging regime to maximise the usefulness of our car parking resources to promote the dynamism of our town centres and the borough transport infrastructure generally but that might require regime change at Elmbridge.